Simon, Coco. Katie’s New Recipe. (Cupcake Diaries #13
2 April 2013, Simon Spotlight
Katie has always lived alone with her mother, a dentist, but things start to change quickly. Her mother has started to spruce herself up, getting new clothes and a haircut, and is dating someone. Her father, whom she has not seen in years, e mails her and wants to meet up. He lives in a nearby town, runs a restaurant, and has a new family. The Cupcake Club is still making cupcakes for events, but are trying to branch out into children’s birthday parties, which Katie doesn’t enjoy quite as much. Change is always hard, but Katie has her good friends to help her deal with it.
Strengths: I love how smoothly written these are. They are effortless to read, and I have really enjoyed all 13, which is a rare event! These are popular with girls who go through a book or two every day, and a good investment in a prebind.
Weaknesses: Nothing at all with the story, which is just so nicely done, but a 13 book series is quite an investment; if I hadn’t started with the first, I don’t know that I could bring myself to go back and purchase them all. Looking into Zoe Evans’ Cheer! Series.
1 January 2013, Scholastic Press
Jamie is inadvertently blamed for a substitute teacher being hit in the backside by a tennis ball because her best friend, Isabelle, is trying to frame Yolanda for dismissing her remarks about keeping a kangaroo. After an interview with the assistant principal (and also her new uncle), Jamie is exonerated of the crime, but made to feel bad that there are no extracurricular activities in her permanent record. She and Isabelle sign up for everything under the sun—chess club, gamers’ club, and even running club. After one sweaty morning with them, Isabelle steals fancy coffee from the teachers’ lounge and the two perfume themselves with it, which gets them positive attention from the staff, who are all strangely addicted to coffee. But why is there expensive coffee in the teachers’ lounge, and what does it have to do with the fact that noxious meatloaf is served to the students every week?
Strengths: These are super quick reads, complete with pictures, and get a little snarky with friend drama and students being mean to each other. Very popular with reluctant middle school readers.
Weaknesses: Rather unrealistic, and I’m not a fan of the pictures, which are often sort of gross (Jamie is shown drooling or making zombie faces a lot.) Rather a The Fourth Stall for girls, it’s just something I don’t understand because I am out of middle school, and know that the only way we have coffee is that the PTO pays for it.