Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Pippa Park Crush at First Sight

Yun, Erica. Pippa Park Crush at First Sight
September 13th 2022 by Fabled Films Press
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central

After her transition to her new private school because of a basketball scholarship, Pippa finds herself a bit adrift at Christmastime when she finds that her mother, who was in a very bad car accident in South Korea at the end of the first book, will not be able to travel to the US for the holiday. Her older sister, Mina, is still struggling to keep the laudromat open, so money is tight. When the Royals don't have another place to have their annual party, Caroline goads Pippa into having it at her small family apartment. This poses a problem, especially when neighbor Mrs. Lee falls, breaks a hip, and moves into Pippa's room. While she is still being tutored by Elliott and has a crush on him, she is connecting more with her old friend, Marvel, with whom she watches children at her church. As the party nears and things conspire against her, will Pippa be able to get a dress, get a date, and fit 34 people into her home for a festive afternoon?

The draw of the first book for me was the basketball; even though so many middle school girls play the sport, there are few books about it. Elena delle Donne's Elle of the Ball, Robert's Nikki on the Line, and Mackel's Boost are some of the few titles out there. There is a little bit here about Pippa's involvement on the team, but the majority of the plot centers around the party.

Pippa's disbelief that her sister won't let her have the party despite the family's circumstances will ring true for young readers whose life view is narrow and focused on what they want, rather than what is possible for their caregivers. Pippa does obtain an expensive dress by borrowing money from a friend, after Mina has to borrow babysitting money Pippa has earned to buy medicine for Mrs. Lee. Mina's husband is always supportive, and he is a delightful character.

The private school and the mean girls will appeal to fans of Russell's Dork Diaries and Harrison's The Clique, and Pippa's desire to impress her friends is understandable. The possible romances with Elliott or Marvel will leave readers turning the pages to find out whom she takes to the party, if she's able to pull it off!

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