Sunday, November 14, 2021

Sydney A. Frankel's Summer Mix-Up

Joseph, Danielle. Sydney A. Frankel's Summer Mix-Up
November 1st 2021 by Kar-Ben Publishing (R)
E ARC provided by Netgalley

Sydney is not thrilled to find that she is expected to take a summer class at the South Miami Community Center before she starts 6th grade. She would rather stay at home and read, but her mother, who is expecting, wants to see her get more activity and get out of her shell. The promise of a cell phone for 6th grade is being held over her head as well. Sydney doesn't like to do presentations because they make her anxious, so her mother is thinking that perhaps a public speaking class would be good. When she finds out that her best friend Maggie's folks want her to take a reading class, the two hatch a plan to switch places. Maggie gets to take dance, and Sydney gets to take a reading class, albeit a remedial one. Of course, there are complications, especially when Sydney makes some friendships in her class but is supposed to be pretending to be Maggie. When the dance class is expected to perform at the end of the summer, will the girls be able to find a way to hide their deception?
Strengths: This included a lot of information about growing up in a Jewish family but did not involve a bar or bat mitzvah, which is a bit unusual and very welcome! Sydney does get some questions about her cultural background, and is able to clear up some misconceptions and stand up for herself, which I especially liked. Friend drama is always a topic my students request, and this has a tiny bit of middle school nascent romance as well. This is exactly the kind of book I enjoyed reading when I was in middle school, so I enjoyed it very much. 
Weaknesses: Are adults really this clueless at summer programs? Stand Up, Yumi Chung and Caleb and Kit also have plots where children lie about their participation and the adults don't catch on. I'm not all that wild about the cover although I love the Florida pastel colors. 
What I really think: This is a good choice for realistic fiction with some cultural connection, and reminded me a bit of Saint Ivy.  
Ms. Yingling

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