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Confessions of a So-called Middle Child Hardcover – August 27, 2013
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From School Library Journal
Gr 5-7–Twelve-year-old Charlie is starting over at a new school after an incident involving, of all things, laxatives. Entering the seventh grade, she is torn between wanting to be friends with the popular crowd and trying to be a better person. As part of her rehabilitation plan, her therapist, Dr. Scales, gives her a task: “to find the most bullied girl in your class and take her under your wing.” The object of Charlie's focus is Marta, whom she describes as looking like a “homeless Disney princess.” What begins as an obligatory project designed to turn Charlie into a kinder, more empathetic friend becomes a laugh-out-loud adventure as the two classmates confront truly mean girls and face challenges that allow Charlie's genuine good nature to shine through–especially when she learns a secret about Marta's life outside school. The snappy dialogue sounds like the script of a witty TV tween comedy, but Charlie is a far more likable and entertaining character than many of the girls portrayed there. As the title implies, Charlie has two siblings, an older sister and a younger brother, both of whom are excellent foils for her growing apprecation for her family. Charlie regularly inserts “True Facts” into her narative. Confessions is a funny story with a fresh and sassy, winning heroine who develops into a loyal and resourceful friend, daughter, and sister.–Shelley Sommer, Inly School, Scituate, MAα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Charlie C. Cooper is a middle child—but she is reformed. After an incident that got her kicked out of school (she tried to win her former best friend back by framing the new girl for putting laxatives in the food), Charlie is fresh off a summer of being grounded and ready for a new start. The only problem is that her therapist has given her an assignment: find the most bullied girl at her new school and befriend her. Charlie isn’t so sure she wants to follow through with the task, especially after more popular girls seem to take an interest in her. Yes, a classic dilemma. There is so much packed in here—Charlie is a budding fashionista and a computer hacker, and her family is restoring the old Houdini mansion—that some of the plot and characters don’t get fully developed. Charlie’s biting sense of humor can also come off as a bit brash. Yet her growth from being a former mean girl feels authentic. Perfect for libraries looking to add additional insightful titles on bullying. Grades 5-8. --Sarah Bean Thompson
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Top customer reviews
Charlie wants to hang out with the type of kids she hung out with at her old school. To ditch her psychiatrist she has to be come with Marta the Farta. She will do it because she wants out of counseling. What she learns is that Marta is not that bad. She sees Trixie, who was just like her old friends for who she truly is. Trixie has it in for Marta and she wants Charlie to help her, even if it means she will blackmail Charlie because of her past.
This type of thing truly does go on in middle schools. Just turn on the news and you will hear new extreme cases of teens bullying each other. This is definitely one I will recommend to my fellow teachers and one I will recommend to my students.
Charlie Cooper is someone that tweens can identify with; especially those who may have affluenza - a malady of working parents being too affluent so that their children want for nothing. This is an extremely well written, delightful story that has a subtle and unique approach to bullying. The target audience is likely grades 4-9, but parents and teachers will also find this enjoyable and be able to relate to the predicament that Charlie finds herself in.