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Children's Book Reading Challenge...For Adults!

Friday, January 04, 2013

Funny Janice Wills An Enjoyable Read

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Like the anthropologist she wants to be someday, 16-year-old Janice Wills observes the natives of Melva High School with a careful, objective eye.  She registers the peculiar nuances of their social hierarchy, their mating rituals, their survival-of-the-prettiest mentality.  But, no matter how many notes she takes, Janice just does not understand how to relate to this strange species, let alone integrate herself into their society.  Her best friend, Margo Werther, thinks the answer is sucking up to the popular girls.  Janice's mother has an even more outrageous idea:  she thinks her daughter should not just enter the annual Livermush Pageant, but actually try to win it.  Since only the cutest girls in town can wear the crown, it doesn't take a PhD to know that Janice Wills has no chance in heck of winning.  Still, she can't resist the chance to study her peers in this most unique of anthropological experiments.  What she learns—curiously enough—is a whole lot about herself.

The Rites & Wrongs of Janice Wills, a debut novel by poet Joanna Pearson, tells a bright, funny story about trying to fit in when everything you do turns out wrong.  Although the plot's not all that original, Janice narrates her story with a strong, sarcastic voice that's upbeat and entertaining.  The book didn't blow me away or anything, but I enjoyed this quick, fun read.  

(Readalikes:  The pageant aspect of the book reminded me a little of Beauty Queens by Libba Bray)

Grade:  B-

If this were a movie, it would be rated:  PG-13 for language (no F-bombs), sexual innuendo/content and depictions of underage drinking/partying

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of The Rites & Wrongs of Janice Wills from the generous folks at Scholastic.  Thank you!


  1. I like books like this from time to time. Movies too.

  2. Hadn't heard of this one, but I like the sound of a sarcastic main character! Sounds like a fast, fun read! Thanks for sharing!


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