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“A good book is the best of friends, the same today and forever.”
Summary: Olivia Hughes (13) is loving life. Everything is going her way: she is the girlfriend with J.W., the "it" boy, and she has been picked for a huge commercial opportunity. Then came the acne that wouldn't go away. No longer the prettiest girl in school, Olivia's attitude takes a dive. She loses the commercial, her best friend, and J.W. How do you recover from that? This is a first-person novel about life in middle school.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, independent reading
Recommended Age: read together: 10 and up; read yourself: 10 and up
Interest Level: 4.2
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: I have mixed thoughts on this book. I picked it because my daughter (11) wants to read it, and I wanted to see what it was all about. With Olivia telling the story, it will help girls see themselves (and their dreams). I also liked how she learned more about herself and grew up. Still, Olivia's lying bugged me.
Pros: Girls who are self-conscious about themselves - particularly how they look - may find comfort in Olivia Hughes. The story is sophisticated enough for high school readers, and this has potential as a high interest - low readability book.
Cons: There are some things that seem a bit mature for things kids do at 13, but it may be a way to open up conversations with your teen.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is a book you'll read and move on.
Educational Themes: This would make a nice selection for a mother-daughter (or all teens) book club. There are several themes related to choices, growing up, and self esteem that can easily be built on in conversations.
Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.
Literary Categories: Fiction - friendship, growing up
Date(s) Reviewed: April 2013
Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at barnesandnoble.com; and feedback at amazon.com.