Ah, the mean girls. I wonder if they are still out there even with all the anti-bullying campaigns being launched in every school from coast to coast?
Shannon has red hair and loves her mommy. She is the middle child in a large Mormon family in Utah but she really could be anywhere. The story is universal. She's a shy girl but when she heads off to school she makes a best friend and life is good. Then, the girl games begin. Shannon and her friend, Adrienne, are getting along great until Jen comes along. Jen knows Adrienne from church and Jen is cool. Her older brother is the quarterback at the high school. Little by little Jen becomes the queen bee, gathering a group of followers who call "dibs" on sitting next to Jen in the cafeteria at lunch and want to be included in her group.
For Shannon this group thing is an on and off scenario. One day Jen loves how honest Shannon is and the next day she's picking teams and leaving Shannon to stand alone. Then there is the lieutenant, Jenny, who really has it in for Shannon, makes fun of her and tries to hurt her feelings. Shannon starts to wish she could be invisible and her stomach starts to hurt.. a lot. Will Shannon be able to keep her friendship with Adrienne and hang on to her place in this clique?
This is a memoir from the ultra successful author, Shannon Hale. Let's just stop and think for a minute. This woman with all of her creativity and her sense of humor. Today she writes the Princess in Black series, giving girls a place to be heroines and to love tea parties and horses. She really gets how Rapunzel deserved a story where she got a little revenge. Was it hard to be her growing up? Did she get left out? Did she ever get stomach aches and feel invisible?
In the author's note at the end Shannon talks about the touches of OCD she grew up with and the anxiety disorder that caused her some real angst. She also shares that her older sister, Wendy, who isn't a shining example of sisterhood in this story, had some undiagnosed behavioral health disorders.
So, here's an honest story, sister to sister, from a woman who has achieved great success with her wonderful imagination and her great heart and her writing chops. Take heart girls.... don't let the Queen Bee sting. You have great stuff inside you and there are people who can see it. If you recognize the pain in this story, if you know someone who is treated like this, go tell an adult. Give them this book and tell them it explains it better than you can. Let it speak for you. Then, go find your own Zara and Veronica.
There really are some normal, good people out there who see the good stuff in others and aren't intimidated by it.
216 pages 978-1626727854 Ages 8-12
Read alike: Invisible Emmie by Terri Libenson; The Girls by Amy Koss
Recommended by: Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com
Sequel: Best Friends