Tracy’s latest novel describes 11-year-old Bessica Lefter’s futile and often comical attempts to discard the vestiges of her elementary-school self at the start of her sixth-grade year. After a disastrous visit to the hairstylist, Bessica loses her lifelong best friend, Sylvie, when their matching pixie haircuts are not equally flattering. Suddenly, Bessica is without an ally and must learn to forge her own identity throughout the perils of middle school. Although it’s not always easy to like Bessica, it is hard not to laugh with her as she loses her cool in the presence of her hunky teenage neighbor, jump ropes her way into the role of school mascot in furry pants, and tries to make nice with the school bullies. A supporting star of the story is Bessica’s tech-savvy grandma, who, even while away on a spelunking trip with her latest man friend, reminds Bessica of the power of positive thinking. Grandma also illustrates the important moral of this story: “Look for happiness and you’ll find it.” Grades 4-7. --Erin Anderson
--This text refers to the
Starred Review, The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, February 2011:From the Hardcover edition.
"Bessica's voice is funny, goofy, anxious, and absolutely emotionally authentic...Readers negotiating their own middle-school minefields or soaking up all the preparatory information they can find will breathlessly follow Bessica's escapades."