In spite of the chapter title, "Rowdy and I Have a Long and Serious Discussion About Basketball," this chapter is one of the shortest in the book, introduced with a chapter title that primes the readers for "a long and serious discussion." But the discussion is neither long nor serious, and the irony of that dichotomy is funny.
Story Sleuths' Tip # 18: Irony can add humor to your story.
In "Because Russian Guys Are Not Always Geniuses," even in the midst of the tragedy of his sister's death, Junior retains his sense of humor: "Miss Warren was obviously trying to win the Captain Obvious Award." Junior laughs a lot in this chapter, but there are three points in Junior's lengthy internal monologue, which lasts for much of this chapter, where the reader is stopped short with a single word paragraph: "Wow." First when his father says, "I love you," then when Junior realizes that Rowdy was hiding in the woods watching the burial, and a third time when Junior realized: "I was important to them. I mattered." Wow.
Story Sleuths' Tip #19: Accent important points with one repeated word, which can be its own sentence.
Over to you, Allyson.