Wow, I have four followers! Thank ya'll. In addition, I have three links:
1) Radio Show: My newest is about study habits. Listen to my cold-stricken voice.
2) I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You: Most of my TGTBTU reviews don't fit on this blog, but this one is YA. Feel free to read the other reviews there as well - the duckies are a sharp bunch with good taste.
3) The Jewel of Medina: Watch me offer a personal opinion. This won't happen often.
By Meg Cabot
I thought this one was an October book for some reason. Imagine my suprise when I saw it in the bookstore yesterday! It all works for the best since I really needed to update this blog. (Hey, Deimyts . . . help me out or I won't give you your beautiful, personally signed copy of ANATHEM.) In the second Allie Finkle book, the title character and her two little brothers begin attending their new school and their grandmother comes for a visit. Allie also adopts a kitten that needs a great deal of care.
Those in the age range the book is aimed at (I'd say second to fourth grade) will probably enjoy the school storyline the most. Bully Rosemary threatens to beat Allie up, and Allie has no clue how to deal with the situation. She doesn't want to tattle to the teacher or scare her parents, but knows she is not likely to win a physical battle. Everything she does to appease Rosemary seems to make her more angry. (One question: What elementary nowadays lets the kids go home for lunch?)
On the other hand, I enjoyed the grandmother's visit the most. There's quite a bit of tension that might have gone over my head when I was younger. Now that I know just how badly my mom got along with her mother-in-law, I can really identify with the family dynamic Meg Cabot uses. It feels very real to me, with plenty of love and some unintentional hurt.
I'm not sure how much of a crossover audience the Allie Finkle books will draw from Cabot's teen readers. Cabot writes well for children, with a simpler sentence structure. She doesn't condescend to them - she uses some nice vocabulary words, multiple storylines, and THE NEW GIRL clocks in at over 200 pages. However, it's still a simpler read. It's not a series I would pick up for myself, but I plan to give my copy of THE NEW GIRL to my cousin when she enters the second grade next year.
I don't always agree with the moral lesson in Cabot's books, but I think all those present in THE NEW GIRL are ones I'd like the little ones in my family to abide by. Plus, Allie makes a rule against eating tomatoes. She's a girl after my own heart (although I do eat salsa).
THE NEW GIRL is the second in the Allie Finkle series; MOVING DAY is the first. The novel stood well on its own. You can find out more about the series on Cabot's website. The menu links to her very interesting "diary." Cabot is the author of the popular Princess Diaries novels (ya'll can't wait for the tenth either, can ya?), the Mediator series, 1-800-WHERE-R-U, and various others.