Sunday, February 21, 2021

The Spyglass Sisterhood

Kaye, Marilyn. Ellie Makes Her Move (The Spyglass Sisterhood #1)
January 1st 2021 by Holiday House
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Ellie's family moves from Brookdale to Lakeside after the town turns against them after her father successfully campaigns to have a homeless shelter built in the town. It's fine for her lawyer dad, who can work at hoping helping people, her  mother, who is interviewing to go back to work as a reporter, and her older sister, who is in college, but it Ellie struggles at school. She was popular at her old school, but since her friends turned against her, she decides that she will stick to befriending "loners". Sometimes this works well, like the goth wannabe Alyssa who is just glad to have a friend, or the overprotected Rachel, whose moms will only let her come to Ellie's house if they meet her parents, but sometimes it takes a lot of effort, as is the case with Kiara, who is glued to her computer screen and only agrees to befriend the group after they "meet" her in the video game to which she is addicted. Beside the cake that is constantly available at Ellie's house, there is another attraction: the older home has a turret in which there is a spy glass. It is magical, and offers views of Lakeside that don't reflect reality. This book serves as an introduction to this magical world, and picks up again with Rachel Takes the Lead, out July 13, 2022.
Strengths: It's tough to move to a new town, no matter what the reason, and Ellie's strategies to make friends are admirable. I can't think of another book that is quite as instructive, so I really appreciated that. The magical spyglass is intriguing, and while we don't know a lot of information about it, future books promise more details. It's good to see a group of girls with diverse interests find each other and come together. Readers who like the ensemble casts like the ones in Perez' Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers , Kimmel's Forever Four, or  Singleton's The Curious Cat Spy Club but want a little more magic in the story will enjoy this title. 
Weaknesses: The style and tone of this seemed very old fashioned. Ellie addresses the audience in the first person and tells us all we need to know to start her story, and Ellie's attitudes toward popularity, especially in her attitudes towards "loners" was dated. 
What I really think: I think this series would do better with elementary school students, even though the girls are described as being in 7th grade. 

This author's name rang a bell, and sure enough, I've read her Sisters series. It's no longer in my library, but has some similarities to the Spyglass Sisterhood

Kaye, Marilyn. Phoebe (Sisters #1)
April 1st 1987 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 

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