Getting a bit weary of problems with friends being mean. Why aren't there more books like the Ally Carter Gallagher girls? And why aren't there any like that about mild mannered, middle aged librarians who become international spies? May have to take a Mrs. Pollifax break!
Ayarbe, Heidi. Compromised.
Maya's widowed con man father has finally landed himself in jail, and Maya ends up in foster care, where her quirky, scientific ways run her afoul of the other children and lead her to devise an escape plan. She manages to get out, but is followed by Nicole, another inmate who routinely uses foul language. In fact, the book is riddled by gratuitous f-bombs, which is a shame, because I was riveted by the story of Maya trying to travel from Elko, Nevada to Idaho to find her aunt, but I will not be buying it for my library. Nicole and Maya (who probably struggles with an autism spectrum disorder) meet a young boy with Tourette's syndrome along the way, and try unsuccessfully to save him as well. The details of their journey are harrowing and true-to-life, but the ending was a little too neat. I thought that Picky Reader might like this, but even she was put off by the language. Definitely good for high school-- middle schools might want to use Kehret's The Runaway Twin instead.
Dee, Barbara. This is Me From Now On.
What 7th grader doesn't decide, from time to time, that life is boring. What better way to shake things up than a new friend who lives right next door and wears sparkly blue stilettos? Even when this friend is somewhat less than reliable and helpful when it comes to working on a school project. Evie is tired of her friends, and Francesca is an exciting new alternative, although she does get Evie into a fair amount of trouble. Picky Reader liked this one a lot, and it certainly gave a true-to-life picture of the vagaries of 7th grade friendships.
Barnholdt, Lauren. Four Truths and a Lie.
Again, one that Picky Reader liked, probably due to the private school nature of the setting, but it lost me when the main character talks about having just gotten new Laboutin shoes. Isn't her father in jail for embezzlement? Aren't they expensive shoes? And what 8th grader really needs anything more than a decent pair of sneakers from Kohls? Admittedly, I didn't read the whole book (I have a paperback), and it is one that I will recommend to girls who like The Clique series, but I just couldn't read any more books about evil girls in private schools. They are starting to make Erin Hunter's Warriors series look appealing!