Monday, August 12, 2013

Review: Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child by Maria T. Lennon

Published by: Harper Collins
Release Date: August 27, 2013
Number of Pages: 288
How I Got This Book: sent by author for review
My Rating: 4/5

Goodreads Summary:

"It's Mean Girls for tweens in the tradition of Paula Danziger's Cat That Ate My Gymsuit and Judy Blume! Watch out, world: here comes Charlie C. Cooper-computer whiz, reformed bully, and so-called middle child-in this seriously funny debut tween novel from screenwriter Maria T. Lennon.

Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child stars the hilariously cheeky reformed bully and tween hacker Charlie Cooper as she tries to ditch her middle-child reputation and make cool friends at her new school in Los Angeles. But being cool isn't as easy as it looks. Charlie has to face down the mean girls and decide between right and wrong once and for all when she learns the terrible truth behind Marta the Farta's bad attitude and loner status. And Charlie has to do it all in outfits meant for the runways!

Maria T. Lennon has created a fresh and fun story that brings Mean Girls to the tween level, peppered with snarky asides, major attitude, and advice to spare from Charlie-whether you asked for it or not.

Check out an excerpt:
"Her name was Marta the Farta, and you could see her from space, she was that bad. She had a beard, teeth the color of butter, and a nest of hair that defied gravity and provided homes for small animals; and yes, she loved to fart. But she was also the most talented gymnast I'd ever seen in my life. We're talking Olympics time. So anyway, this is the story of how I changed her life, and yeah, all right, fine, how she changed mine."


First, thank you to Maria T. Lennon for sending me your book for review (and thank Charlie for me too!)  

For the first couple of chapters, I wasn't sure if I could like Charlie. She was snarky (yes, I know. This is normal for a 7th grader. I am the proud owner of a 7th grade girl, and I work with middle schoolers.) But, she was also "prickly" and frankly, her attitude towards adults kind of got under my skin. BUT, Charlie worked her way into my heart. She was a tough chick, but she obviously had a good heart. The way she -unwillingly, at first - took Marta under her wing really won me over. More than anything, she wants to fit in at her new school, and finds a "friend" who could catapult her into popularity. But, what Charlie realizes is that this popular girl, Trixie, is really not a nice person at all. Grudgingly she admits to herself that while Marta will pretty much kill her chance of popularity, she knows that sticking up for her is the right thing to do. 

Now, the character of Marta was also hard to like at first. You want to feel sorry for her because she is the outcast that everyone makes fun of. But, the way she lashes out at everyone kind of makes it hard to feel bad for her. But, then you find out more of Marta's story that makes you realize why she is the way she is, and you can't help but like her. 

This is a book that many tweens will enjoy. Charlie has been both the bully and the victim which makes her easy to relate to. I really enjoyed the story. I liked how Charlie was kind of a reluctant heroine. Overall, I thought this was a wonderful, well-written book and I will definitely be recommending this to my middle school students! I hope that there are more Charlie books in the future!


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