Saturday, July 14, 2012

Forever Four

Kimmel, Elizabeth Cody. Forever Four.
19 January 2012, Grosset and Dunlap

Paulina wants to create a school magazine for a contest that will award one student group money for a club or project, but three other girls have the same idea, so she will be forced to work with them. The new girl, Ivy, seems sort of cool and knows about magazines because her mother was the editor of one. Tally is rather talkative and a drama queen, but also okay to work with. Miko, on the other hand, is a PQuit (Prom Queen In Training) and condescends to work with Paulina only because she hates Ivy so much. Paulina is missing her best friend, Evelyn, who has moved away, so she makes her best effort at putting together a magazine 4 Girls, and trying to get along with the girls. Their biggest competition is a group trying to get funding for girls' sports. When someone posts on the magazine blog that 4 Girls is getting help from parents and is therefore cheating, Paulina has to come up with a way to defend the group and also sway the student body to vote for them.
Strengths: I love Cody Kimmel's work, and was a bit leery of a book with a multicultural cast of disparate characters, but it really works. Realistic in the portrayal of the relationships, fun, light. Picky Reader had friends over for a sleepover recently, and one of them picked up this book and read the whole thing before falling asleep! Good addition for girls who like realistic fiction.
Weaknesses: I know the economy is bad, but the grant/contest idea seem a bit far-fetched. Probably been done somewhere, though, and students would not care.

Kimmel, Elizabeth Cody. Leading Ladies (Forever Four #2).
19 January 2012, Grosset and Dunlap

Even though the ink is barely dry on their magazine and 4 Girls won the competition for club funding, there are already problems. Paulina is still committed to the magazine, but the others aren't. Miko has become friends with the group but is under pressure from her mother to do other activities, and from her friends to NOT hang with the magazine crowd. She takes a break from the group, which means that they have to do all of her design work. Ivy is becoming withdrawn because she thinks that her parents are going to move back to the city for her mother's new job. Tally is caught up in the school play, which is Annie and is obsessed with getting the starring role. Paulina is covering the play for the magazine, but finding it hard to do the work all on her own, especially since she has to take care of her younger brother while her divorced mother works long hours. Throw a school bout with the flu into the mix, as well as drama over a Homecoming decades-themed dance, and it's uncertain whether or not the magazine will ever get finished.
Strengths: I need a lot more series of realistic fiction books for girls-- I'm still circulating a lot of The Agony of Alice and Anastasia Krupnick, even though the first books in these great series are over 20 years old! This is a fun series with attractive covers, so I hope that there are quite a few more books coming out.
Weaknesses: I didn't like the girls as much in this book, and the reliance on technology might work to age the books prematurely.

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