Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Miriam is quite happy to be herself. At least when she is not in school. She yearns for the time in the past when she and sister Deborah would play together at home and have great imaginative adventures. But Miriam has noticed how much that Deborah has changed. She wears fashionable clothes and makeup, talks for hours on the telephone, and has enough assets to garnish the attention of Artie Rosenberg, who has just happened to move in with their family for senior year.

When Miriam is at school, things are almost unbearable. Not that she complains. The pretty, cool girls smell of watermelon lip gloss, get the attention of the boys, and Jenny Clarke, in particular, seems to live to torture Miriam. This is not big obvious bullying...rather the subtle girl sort. Miriam almost plays along...just to make it go away.

Miriam is, however, close to the breaking point. There is no support at home. Deborah just doesn't want to be embarrassed, her college professor dad is busy, and her self absorbed mother is getting ready for an art show. What will happen when Miriam breaks? And why is Jenny Clarke so venomous?

I think that Marcella Pixley has written a gripping first novel about the underbelly of middle school. Miriam is so real, as are the watermelon girls. She is weird enough but not so much so as to be unbelievable. And the Fisher household is truly something to behold. There are many middle school girls (and their teachers and parents) who should be reading this book. Brilliant.

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