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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

What's Normal? Hint: Not Your Family.

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Mieka Baker doesn't know what a "normal" family looks like, but she's pretty sure hers doesn't qualify. Ever since her mom took off, she's been living with her artist dad in a Chicago apartment decorated in what he likes to call "Salvation Armani." Her maternal grandmother, who owns a secondhand shop nearby, is Mieka's only close relative. As if a fractured, abnormal family isn't enough to deal with, she's also watching her best friend defect to the popular side. Life gets even crueller when she has to stay with her cousin's perfect family for a few weeks. Hanging out with her beautiful cousin Greta only makes Mieka realize what a big, clumsy oaf she is. Between Greta's uber-niceness; her family's big, spotless Texan mansion; and Mieka's chain-smoking, poison-tongued fraternal grandma, Mieka will learn the true definition of "normal." Hint: No family really qualifies.

Wow! A one-paragraph book summary may be a new record for me. Chasing Normal by Lisa Papademetriou is easy to describe because it's really a quick, simple book about learning to accept yourself for who you are. The story's been done a million times, but Papademetriou at least gives us some fresh characters. Don't expect a perfect happily-ever-after ending, but it's a very honest, hopeful story.

(Readalikes: I could name one hundred similar kids-learning-to-love-themselves stories.)

Grade: C

If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG for one scene involving a submerged maxi pad

To the FTC, with love: I received this book from the generous folks at Disney/Hyperion. Thanks!

1 comment:

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The Tobacco Wives by Adele Myer



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