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Friday, August 31, 2012

A is For Alright, But Not Amazing

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Tink Aaron-Martin's got some time to kill.  That's the thing about being grounded—it's a vast, endless ocean of empty hours, minutes and seconds.  What's a 12-year-old aspiring writer to do?  Why, create her own encyclopedia, of course!  Starting with Aa (a type of lava) and ending with Zoo (of course), Tink takes the reader through the alphabetized story of her life.  She tackles brothers (she has 2), parents (2, although it might as well be none thanks to the long hours they work), her brother's autism ("Let's talk about this endlessly!  By which I mean, let's not"), her BFF (who's smarter, prettier, funnier than Tink and maybe, too mature to hang out with her anymore), and a new friend (a blue-haired skateboarder named Kai, who is of no interest to Tink—none at all).  Mostly, though, it's a story about growing up, because that's what Tink does during the "weirdest, most wonderful summer of my life."

There's not a lot of plot going on in The Encyclopedia of Me by Karen Rivers, which makes it a difficult book to describe.  Still, it's an entertaining read, with a clever format, a lovable heroine and some poignant thoughts on friendship, family and finding oneself.  Although the snark sometimes feels overdone, Tink's narration is what makes the novel so fun.  She's a funny girl, full of all the angst and insecurity that comes with being almost 13.  I appreciate the fact that Tink's bi-racial, although there's little else that's really unique about her or her story.  All and all, I wanted more from The Encyclopedia of Me, especially in the way of plot.  It's a fun read, but one that wanders rather aimlessly and doesn't leave much of an impact.

(Readalikes:  Nothing comes to mind.  Any ideas?)

Grade:  C+

If this were a movie, it would be rated:  PG; Because the book talks a little bit about puberty and has some kissing in it, it would probably be most appropriate for children ages 11 and above

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of The Encyclopedia of Me from the generous folks at Scholastic.  Thank you!   

1 comment:

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