Friday, July 3, 2009

Book 1 of the Summer Reading Book Challenge

As I mentioned in a previous post, I've created a little book challenge for myself this summer. I am planning to read a book a week during the Summer Reading Program and I will write a review of the book here on the blog. I'll be reading a variety of books, new and old, that might be good choices for our Book Buddies Book Club. You can look for my reviews each week on Fridays.

Book 1: Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell in Love by Lauren Tarshis

Emma-Jean Lazarus, the quirky girl protagonist we first met in 2007's Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree, is back and experiencing rather alarming symptoms of Spring Fever. Yes, Emma-Jean has developed a crush - her first - on none other than Will Keeler, one of the most popular boys in her seventh grade class at William Gladstone Middle School. The Spring-Fling dance is fast approaching and this time the girls have to ask the boys. Emma-Jean isn't sure if she should ask Will since they seem so unsuitable for each other.

To make matters more complicated, Emma-Jean's friend Colleen, has received an anonymous love letter in her locker and begs Emma-Jean to find out who wrote it. Will Emma-Jean be able to solve the mystery and find Colleen's boy in time for the dance? And will she resolve her feelings for Will and survive her first crush?

I really enjoyed Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell in Love. All of my favorite characters from the first book are back: Ms. Wright, Vikram, Mr. Johannsen and all of Emma-Jean's friends: Colleen, Kaitlin, Michele and Valerie. Even the mean Laura Gilroy is back but this time Colleen finds the confidence to stand up to her, which was thrilling to read. Emma-Jean is as quirky and logical as ever, using her keen observation skills to find Colleen's anonymous letter-writer. She also takes a second-stab at match-making for Ms. Wright and intercedes on Vikram's behalf when she fears his love for her mother has clouded his decision-making ability.

I would highly recommend this book to fans of the first one as well as those who like confident girl characters who don't mind standing out from the crowd. My one reservation is that I'm not sure most middle-grade girls will find Emma-Jean relatable - but does that matter? It's nice to find characters you can relate to but it can also be very inspiring to read about those who are different from you, too.

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