Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Pink Hair and Other Terrible Ideas

Pyros, Andrea. Pink Hair and Other Terrible Ideas
February 1st 2019 by Capstone Editions
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Josephine is dealing with middle school, friend issues, and her parents' divorce, and doesn't feel that she handles things as well as her twin brother, Chance, who is very popular. In fact, when the popular Autumn is planning a big, fancy boy-girl party, Josephine hopes that she will get invited if she can facilitate a relationship between Autumn and her brother. TO make things even more awkward, Josephine has a crush on her brother's best friend, and asking him to the party will be hard! On top of all this ordinary middle school angst, the twin's mother drops this news-- she has breast cancer, and will need surgery right before the party. Their father will come from two hours away to stay with them, and then their aunt will come while their mother is recuperating. This is scary, and Josephine does NOT want anyone at school to know about it. She doesn't want to have everyone look at her as "the girl whose mom has cancer". Chance has no such scruples, and dyes his hair pink to benefit breast cancer research. Even after he gets in trouble for it at school, he encourages his teammates to raise money to have the entire team's hair done. This, of course, lets everyone know about her family's situation, and Josephine is not happy. She's worried about her mom, but also about the party, and as the two events near, she finds it harder and harder to keep things together. How can she live her life but also show her mother how much she cares?
Strengths: Personally, I think that Josephine has the right idea. No one needs to know her family's story. Well, the teachers should, but they should not tell anyone else and not mention it to her, just be aware in case she needs support. The twin tension is a nice touch, as is the rather irresponsible noncustodial father. The details of the mother's treatment are informative, and the worry the children feel is realistic. The friend and romance drama is especially well done, and "drama" is certainly something for which I get a LOT of requests.
Weaknesses: The school suspending Chance about the hair dye even after the mother goes to the principal's office and tells them about her cancer doesn't seem right to me. Also, Josephine's desire to keep things private is frowned upon, and I think she is entitled to her privacy.
What I really think: Like Sonnenblick's Falling Over Sideways, this does a great job at showing how family events can impact students' lives, and how normal concerns about school and friends don't fade away in the face of larger issues, just become more complicated. Definitely purchasing, and like the new cover better.

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