By Jennifer L. Holm
Pictures by Elicia Castaldi
Simon & Schuster, 2007
$12.99, ages 8-12, 128 pages
Imagine a book told exclusively through a 12-year-old girl's stuff, everything from refrigerator notes to the back of her homework assignment.
In this brilliantly conceived book by Newbery Honor-winning Holm, readers sift through the life of seventh grader Ginny, reading all of the scraps of notes she's written while at home and at school.
Each note feels very personal and touches upon things that linger in her thoughts: things she wishes she could do, others she has to do, and all of the things she worries and wonders about.
As seventh grade begins, Ginny's got a big to-do list. For one, she wants her mom to remarry. For another, she has to get the role of Sugarplum Fairy in the Nutcracker.
And then, wouldn't it be great, if just this once, she looked good in her school photo?
Ahh, the first day of school -- a fresh slate, a chance to be the kid everyone thinks is cool. But then Brian Bukvic shouts out to Ginny across the newly polished school floors, "Hey, Banana Nose!" and, well, it looks like things are the same as ever.
Or maybe, worse than she imagined. Worse than even the "gray and gristly" meatloaf in the cafeteria?
Suddenly one thing after another goes wrong. Ginny accidentally colors her hair pink, is sent to detention for throwing frogs in class and is edged out in the lead role of the recital by her ex-best friend.
It might just take a glob of dough she's molded for the science fair to turn things around. But you'll have to read the notes tacked on her bulletin board and fridge to find out...