Saturday, February 13, 2021

Reckless, Glorious Girl

Hagan, Ellen. Reckless, Glorious Girl
February 9th 2021 by Bloomsbury Children's Books
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

In this novel in verse, Bea lives in Bardstown, Kentucky with her mother and Mamaw. Her father passed away before she was born, but she has plenty of support. She is going into seventh grade soon, and navigating this change in her life with her friends Mariella (who is Latinx) and StaceyAnn (whose father is black and whose mother is white). She participates on the swim team, but spends most of her time pondering important adolescent questions like whether she should shave her legs and wear a bra, and when she might get her period. Even though Mamaw is described as wild and somewhat wacky, increasingly so as she gets older (a mere 63), Bea is not allowed to have a cell phone or shave her legs. When she starts middle school, some things are tough, and her goal to become the best at everything is difficult. Gym class is horrible, and it's hard to know how to approach her friendship with Rodney, since she starts to "like like" him. Her mother starts to date a man she dislikes, and Bea starts to worry that she will have to move to Cincinnati. Through all of her problems, she has the steadfast love of her mother and grandmother to help her through difficult times. 
Strengths: While Blume's Are You There God, It's Me Margaret is a favorite of many teachers and librarians, it's very dated. This is a good replacement that touches on issues that seem so important when one is twelve and so completely inconsequential when one is old. Periods, body image, worries about middle school and boys, difficulties with parents; these are all stressful to tween and teen readers. 
Weaknesses: Despite the influence of her grandmother, who seemed fairly reckless and glorious, Bea struck me as having dated attitudes about many things. I wished she had been involved in more activities. 
What I really think: A good choice for readers who like novels in verse and want books similar to Yeh's The Truth About Twinkie PieSalazar's The Moon WithinWeston's Speed of Life.  or Dahl's Genie Wishes. I  may stick with Harrington's Revenge of the Red Club, which seems to embrace a much more modern approach to middle school issues. 

No comments:

Post a Comment