Monday, June 21, 2010

This is Me from Now On by Barbara Dee: An uplifting middle school read

This is Me from Now On by Barbara Dee is a cute story about friendship. Seventh grade is hard enough for Evie but when she gets partnered up with the new girl, Francesca, on a killer history assignment, Evie’s world gets complicated. Francesca is anything but typical and Evie finds herself both fascinated and confused by Francesca’s behavior in which Evie often finds herself an unwitting accomplice.

The story’s appeal is for young girls around 10-13. On a reader enjoyment level, the book didn’t have much appeal to me. The plot was fairly predictable and I figured Evie would work things out in the end. But I do think young girls will like this story. I appreciated the fact that Evie is able to recognize the tunnel she begins spiraling down and tries her best, and succeeds, in straightening herself out. She learns to be strong and stick with her decisions. Although Francesca’s friendship was tricky and difficult, Evie never gave up on Francesca who desperately needed a friend. Evie was able to reach out to her teenage sister for advice. The situation with Evie’s parents (who were always too busy to talk with Evie about “little” problems) felt realistic and the sister was a great role model of responsibility towards school and relationships who gave Evie good advice.

I think this story encourages girls to learn how to mend their friendships by being honest with and sensitive to their friends’ feelings. Young girls often get hurt over small things and friendships turn sour as a result. Evie fights hard against this and I was happy that she didn’t give up on mending relationships.

When Evie wants to date she actually asks her parents and respects their desire for her to do group activities. The “date” was an eye-opener for Evie that she doesn’t have to rush into dating and accepts being friends with the guy she likes. There are practically no causes for concern. The girls get into a web of lies and do a little thieving but it comes to bite them in the butt and they fess up. Swearing is not really an issue. There’s only some OMG!’s and that’s it. The neighbor lady, Francesca’s aunt, throws some parties but they hardly factor into the plot. Overall this is a clean and uplifting story. Although I didn’t personally swoon over the book, I think young girls will enjoy it.
Publisher: Aladdin Mix, 2010      Pages: 259     Source: I won this from Reading Teen! Thanks!
Rating: 3 Stars                        Recommended Age: 10-13

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