Morgan, Alex. Sabotage Season: The Kicks #2
September 3rd 2013
by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Devin hopes that the Kicks can make it to the playoffs, and is sure that if they train hard enough and smart enough, they can, but when fake emails from their coach cancel practices, Devin's gear is stolen, and a variety of other nasty things happen, she's sure that Mirabelle and the Pinewood team are out to make sure they don't make it. The team continues to be plagued by illness, injury, and further pranks, and Devin begins to think that the team won't be able to do well. When she confronts Mirabelle, she begins to suspect that perhaps the Kicks are looking to blame the wrong people.
Strengths: There are so many good details about middle school girls and their relationships in these books. I especially love how Devin Skypes her best friend Kara back home, and they compare their outfits for the day! I still e mail my best friend almost daily, and we frequently discuss our (much less fashionable) attire. There are good descriptions of soccer games, drama, and all sorts of good things.
Weaknesses: It seems unlikely that such vandalism would continue once coaches know about it, but it does create dramatic tension.
Schroeder, Lisa. Frosting and Friendship
September 24th 2013
In this companion to It's Raining Cupcakes and Sprinkles and Secret, we find Lily struggling with a lot of different things. Her friend Isabel is in the Baking Bookworms book group with her, but since Isabel's mother runs a cupcake shop, providing home baked goodies for the group isn't a problem. Lily, however, is a disastrous cook but is a much better musician. Her group, the Dots, are hoping to win a local talent show against the New Pirates. When Isabel asks for Lily's help in putting together a birthday party for Sophie, their mutual friend, Isabel agrees. Things get hairy, however, when Isabel expects Lily to bake, host the party, AND let the New Pirates play at it. Lily is stressed out not only by the amount of things that have to be done, but by telling the Dots about the party, and letting Isabel know that while she is a good friend, the party is too much for her.
Strengths: The covers on all of these books are fantastic, and Schroeder clearly knows her tween girl social interactions. I liked how this could be read without the others OR as the third in the series.
Weaknesses: There is a teacher named Mr. Weisenheimer, which could perfectly well be a legitimate name, but it made me flinch every time I read it. I was also a little surprised that Lily's parents let her take on so much, but Ms. Schroeder does a good job of making it seem plausible.