Saturday, December 3, 2011

Book Review: "Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks" (Adolescent Fiction)

April Grace is a sixth grader living in the rural South in the mid-eighties. She is just starting junior high. One of her best friends has started a clique that excludes just about everyone - including her. Her sister is being a snot most of the time. Her mom isn't feeling well and it turns out that she is expecting a baby! So many changes so quickly for the heroine of the story! April Grace tells us her story in first person.

I actually liked (but not loved) the book. Of course, my only liking it is probably due to the fact I am in my 30s and not a tween, which is this book's intended audience. Still, I gave it 5 stars as I am sure I would have LOVED the book at that age level.

April Grace is mild mannered and sweet. She does not react overly to all the changes in her life. That is not to say she does not whine, or feel sorry for herself. It is evident that she does at times. However, that is a normal response to what she is going through. Still, she lets her Christianity shine through. (For instance, she is never mean to anyone but will stick up for people. She does not return the mean actions of her former friend, but chooses to try and be nice to her anyway or when she cannot bear to do that, she just walks away.) She is a good example for girls. My own girls are young for this book right now (ages 7 and 2), but it is a book I would let them read (or read to them) in the future.

One thing I enjoyed about the book was the setting. I did not grow up in the Ozarks, but I did grow up in the rural South. I would have been 10 when the story takes place, so only a grade or so behind April Grace. I remember trapper keepers, shoulder pads, the Reagan Administration, and so many other things the book mentions. I also LOVED the use of Southern slang in the book such as "Good Gravy". I remember hearing people say things like that. It was a nice trip back to the past.

I was given an e-book copy of this book for free in exchange for this honest review.

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