Thursday, November 29, 2007

Middle School Is Worse Than Meatloaf

Ginny is just going into 7th grade, and she has a plan. From getting a new dad to looking good in her school photo, her list runs the gambit.

Through a series of lists, letters, IMs, report cards, post-its, detention slips, brother-drawn comics, and overdue slips, readers get a real sense of what's going on in Ginny's life.

While the format is super-cute, Jennifer Holm (yes of Babymouse and others) tackles some meaty issues. Ginny's dad was killed by a drunk-driver, and now her older somewhat delinquent brother seems to be on the same path as the teen who killed their father. Ginny is also dealing with more typical middle school issues. Mary Catherine Kelly still has Ginny's sweater, and she stillhasn't spoken to Ginny since she got the prime part at their ballet school. Ginny is also on a quest to make her nose seems smaller, and is wondering what to do about the fact that Brian Bukvic keeps bugging her.

Ginny's got a great relationship with her mom and her Fairy Grandfather, which is evident through artifacts like long-distance phone bills (Grandpa is in Florida), and the notes that her mother leaves for her. Even though readers get a sense of family distance from the sheer volume of notes to each other, the author has managed to develop the character of the family itself so that the reader really can feel the love they all have for each other.

I am going to be recommending this to reluctant readers, and also to the students looking for a super fast, yet thoughtful read.

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