Margolis, Leslie. One Tough Chick.
22 January 2013, Bloomsbury.
Annabel is back in this fourth book. This time, she tries out for the school talent show, but her dog Pepper goes crazy, so she doesn't get to be in it. The teachers take pity on her and ask her to be a student judge, which means that everyone who is in the talent show is trying to bribe her. Add to this her family life, which is still kind of weird now that her mother has remarried, regular difficulties with friends, and things are.... well, typically middle school. Her big concern, however, is Oliver, and she is increasingly interested in kissing him, but something always happens to interrupt them, including her feelings as well as Oliver's reactions to her. Will the talent show go smoothly? And will things with Oliver ever progress?
Strengths: This is a very true-to-life series, and is starting to replace Naylor's Alice books for a quick, realistic read for my girls. Maybe I should buy another copy of book one!
Weaknesses: Wish they had kept the same style of cover of the other books. Also, personally, I no longer cared about Annabel's kiss, but then I'm old and jaded AND have turned into a 12-year-old boy in my reading habits.
Barnholdt, Lauren. Girl Meets Ghost
5 February 2013, Aladdin.
Kendall lives by a cemetary and has long had ghosts talk to her to try to get her to help them solve the problems that are tethering them to earth. She no longer tells her father about them, because he has enough to worry about-- Kendall's mother left years ago, her grandmother has recently died, and her father's "girlfriend" Cindy won't leave him alone. Kendall would like to concentrate on getting her math grade up, especially if it means spending more time with cute Brandon being tutored, but ghost Daniella has other plans. Daniella was a gymnast and thinks that a fight she had with her best friend is keeping her from moving on, but she doesn't quite remember. Kendall has to follow Jen around, which makes them both uncomfortable, to try to figure out what's going on. She is also being followed by another ghost-- Brandon's mother, who passed away recently. Mrs. Dunham isn't as talkative as most ghosts; she just keeps telling Kendall to put her name "on the green paper". At least Kendall is able to solve Daniella's problems; Mrs. Dunham's case will probably be resolved in book two of this series, The Harder the Fall, which comes out 3 September 2013.
Strengths: This will be hugely popular with middle school girls. Ghosts AND lots of information on clothing and makeup AND a cute boy who's inviting her over to his house for dinner. Pitch perfect for middle school. Looking forward to the series. Love the covers.
Weaknesses: I personally got a bit weary of reading about Kendall's silver eye shadow and her outfits, but that's just me. Many girls will adore this.