Thursday, November 19, 2020

13 and 3/4 (Friendship List #4)

Greenwald, Lisa. 13 and 3/4 (Friendship List #4) 
August 4th 2020 by Katherine Tegen Books
Library copy 

 Ari and Kaylan get together with their friends before the summer begins. Since they will be in 8th grade, they want to make sure that the summer is one of the best, and they want to continue their tradition of making their list of things to accomplish. It's even more important this summer, because Ari is heading off for seven weeks at her rustic sleepaway camp in the woods, where she will connect with old friends, and Kaylan is headed to a comedy camp held on a college campus. With the help of their friends, they come up with a list that includes things like helping two counselors fall in love, getting a younger person to make a list, tie dye something, and make a difference. Ari settles right into camp, reconnects with her friends, and starts on her list. It's a little harder for Kaylan, who has to learn to get along with her roommate, Indigo, and needs to make friends in the program. Both make progress on their lists, but there are some family dynamics at work behind the scenes, and the girls have a misunderstanding about who knew what information when. Will they be able to finish their lists, work out their differences, and get ready to be the "seniors of middle school"? 
Strengths: I'm always fond of a good camp story, having fond memories of Campfire Girl camps (Kiwatani and Yakewi), and since most of my students don't seem to go to camp, they are enthralled by the idea of being away from home alone. Kaylan's comedy camp, located on a college campus, was especially interesting. Dorm rooms are super exciting in middle school! There's plenty of friend drama, a little light romance, and a good description of the growing pains that middle school friendships can have. While other reviews seem to indicate that this will be the last book in the series, it seemed like 8th grade deserved a book, and one final list, of its own. 
 Weaknesses: There was so much description of the drama and list progress that there weren't as many details about being at camp. There's always a lot of humor in communal rest rooms and dining halls, and my readers often don't know what the camps are like. 
 What I really think: This series has been a popular one, so I bought this one without reading it. Greenwald is an author I can trust to deliver a strong middle grade story.

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