Pauline Books and Media
This was the second book by Marilee Hayes that I have read in as many weeks. I absolutely love her writing style. She writes in the style of realistic fiction, no fantasy, no science fiction, no super powers, but good clean down to earth stories. Over the last year I have read almost 20 books by Andrew Clements, he writes in a very similar style, realistic fiction, and most of his books teach a lesson in subtle ways. Haynes writing is much like Clements but with the Catholic undertones that just take the stories a little deeper. This story could be about kids you know, in your family or at your parish. The story is realistic, relevant and just an excellent read!
There are 48 days until the end of the school year. Annie, an eleven year old, must complete a self-portrait project for her end of the year project. But two of the girls in her class are bullies and seem intent on being mean to just about everyone. There is a new girl in class, Lacey, but Annie cannot seem to figure her out. Annie feels like it is all going sideways on her. And on top of that her best friend is having problems at home, and Annie seems to be missing the marks on the friendship front.
In this story we encounter bullying, dealing with embarrassment, family problems and more. And Haynes does it in such a way that you are drawn in and really care about the characters. And the group study questions at the end of the book can make this a great tool for working through at home or in the classroom. And while the setting in the book is a Catholic school, I really believe that an Christian, or really anyone who interacts with young people could find a place to use this book with the children in their lives.
My only real regret with this book is that to date Haynes only has three books in print! I wish there were more books I could read and pick up for our church and school libraries. But hopefully soon we will have more from this emerging author. This was an outstanding read about friendship, faith, finding your place, and finding your voice to be able to express who you are. I loved reading this and cannot wait to read it with my younger children as they get a little older. This is one of the best middle grade books I have read in years!
Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!
Books by Marilee Haynes:
Genius Under Construction
Pictures of Me
Author profile and interview with Marilee Haynes.