Taylor, Chloe. Lights, Camera, Fashion. (Sew Zoey #3)
August 27th 2013, Simon Spotlight
Zoey is super excited for the school dance at Madison Prep, but a little nervous because it is a Sadie Hawkins dance, and she will have to ask a boy. She has no problems coming up with a dress for her friends, but is stuck on what to make for herself-- and who she can ask to the dance. Then, she gets a call asking her to be a judge on television's Fashion Showdown! Of course, she wants to do that, but OMG, it's the same night as the dance. She can't let her friends down! Add to the complications that she is still missing her deceased mother and is trying to fit in at school, and the drama is just huge. In true Zoey fashion, though, she manages to work everything out with the help of a supportive aunt, teacher, and fabric store clerk.
Strengths: The sixth grade girls ADORE this series, and I can see 4th and 5th graders really liking it as well. It's got everything-- girl drama, boys, and lots and lots of pretty clothes.
Weaknesses: Almost feel bad peddling there, since they make me feel covered in glitter. Still, they aren't as superficial as some tween books, and they are great for struggling and reluctant readers. I'm buying all of them as they come out, and so far there are at least five.
Barnholdt, Lauren. The Harder the Fall (Girl Meets Ghost #2)
September 3rd 2013, Aladdin
When Kendall and her friend happen into a new full service spa, they get more than manicures-- Kendall meets Lyra, the daughter of the owner. The problem? Lyra died of a heart condition but can't move on until Kendall helps her figure out what is keeping her on earth. Kendall has other problems-- her father gives a promise ring to his girlfriend, Cindy; she thinks Lyra's brother Micah is kind of cute and boyfriend Brandon is a little jealous of him; and worst of all, Brandon's mother keeps haunting Kendall, telling her to stay away from him. Mix in lots of fashion and glittery make up, and you've got another harmless confection for tween girls-- this time with ghosts.
Strengths: This one has more harmless kissing than the Zoey series, but again, there's some meat here. Kendall's mom took off when she was young, and Kendall doesn't know why. She likes Cindy, but it's just weird to have her dad dating someone. The whole talking to ghosts thing is handled well, and there's some friend drama as well.
Weaknesses: Really? 7th graders get manicures? I have never had a manicure in my life! I always have a hard time believing that middle school girls really care about fashion. I know from experience that they can be completely obsessed with boys, but fashion?