Lynda B. Comerford Rissa Bartholomew's Declaration of Independence was an excellent portrayal of the realignment of friendships that occur in middle school. Rissa has been forced to be friends with Beth for years because their mothers like each other. Shortly before entering middle school, however, Beth becomes Bethany, and increasingly is absorbed by clothes, boys, and clothes. Rissa, whose mother makes her wear Beth's hand-me-downs and participate in activities that Beth likes, doesn't understand when Rissa wants to take violin instead of ballet, and why she no longer wants to be friends with the girls with whom she has car pooled for years.
Rissa just wants to be herself, but first she has to find out who this is. This is the journey that every middle school aged girl takes. Balancing personal quirks with public acceptability, deciding upon one's social standing, figuring out what clothes to wear-- it's difficult, and Comerford understands and addresses these issues in a realistic and yet helpful way.
Because I did like this so much, I found myself getting picky about it. Needs better title. Do 11-year-olds really go to the mall alone? Mine doesn't. Her mother is just now going back to work? But the thought with which I left this book was-- when is the sequel coming out? Anastasia Krupnik would be about 35 right now, so it's really time for another good series of books about an engaging character. My 6th grade daughter will adore this.