Becker, Suzy. Kate the Great Takes All
November 1st 2016 by Crown Books for Young Readers
Kate the Great continues to make her way through her upper elementary life. She has plenty of friend drama with Brooke and Nora, has to deal with her very supportive but realistically quirky family, and has pleasant anecdotal experiences. Her school is doing a food drive, she befriends an elderly neighbor, Mrs. Verlagen, and gets her ears pierced. There is nothing earth shaking-- no one (not even Mrs. Verlagen!) dies, there's no horrible problems, and everyone eventually gets along as best they can. Hooray!
Strengths: I felt that the first book in this series was too young for middle school, but it has actually circulated quite well with fans of Wimpy Kid (it shares the lack of plot syndrome with that) and Dork Diaries, although it is MUCH more pleasant and upbeat. It is a semi-notebook novel; the text is typewritten, but there are a fair number of pictures.
Weaknesses: While I enjoyed the pleasant nature of this book, nothing made me say "wow". It just doesn't have the clever writing of Eyre's The Mean Girl Meltdown or draw me in like Payton's It Takes Two series. Also, it is in paper-over-board format.
What I really think: Perfectly serviceable title which will circulate until it falls apart. Big kudos for lack of sad events while still embracing tween drama.