What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there are brief references to drinking, smoking, drugs, spousal abuse, commercial brands, and boobs, but none are more than passing references.
What's the story?
Amanda Beeson, the well-named queen bee of her middle school, maintains her position by being mean to everyone else. But there's a reason for her meanness: if she allows herself to sympathize with anyone, she finds herself inhabiting their body. In the past she has returned to herself fairly quickly, but when she inhabits social outcast Tracy, she finds herself stuck there, and discovers a secret class in her school for children with supernatural gifts.
Is it any good?
Series books often follow a different literary standard, especially those, like this one, that go straight to paperback. It reads like something written by a bright college student: a bit clunky, obvious, beating the reader over the head with the Point, relying on caricature instead of character, and often violating the cardinal rule of writing class -- show, don't tell! This can happen even to a good writer when he or she churns out books on a series schedule, which values speed over subtlety.
That's not to say that this isn't enjoyable -- it is. It's easy and fluid to read, with an engrossing plot and a few original ideas, including turning the middle school queen of mean into a relatable, sympathetic heroine whose spoiled brashness may actually be a healthier approach to life than the social outcast's self pity. Unfortunately, improving the outcast's life predictably involves getting her better clothes, hair, and makeup. But it also involves getting her to stand up for herself, especially to her own neglectful parents. So, not great literature, but a fun read.
From the Book:
From her prime seat at the best table, Amanda Beeson surveyed the chaotic scene with a sense of well-being. The cafeteria was noisy and messy and not very attractive, but it was part of her little kingdom --- or queendom, if such a word existed. She wasn't wearing any kind of crown, of course, but she felt secure in the knowledge that in this particular hive, she was generally acknowledged as the queen bee.
On either side of her sat two princesses --- Sophie Greene and Britney Teller. The three of them were about to begin their daily assessment of classmates. As always, Amanda kicked off the conversation. "Ohmigod, check out Caroline's sweater! It's way too tight."
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about seeing things from others'
points of view. Was this a good experience for Amanda? How does it
change her? Do you think anyone would be changed the same way by her
What do you think she will she do now, since sympathizing
has a dangerous effect on her? Is it better to sympathize and take the
consequences, or should she find another way of avoiding it?
you think of Madame's approach to their gifts? Is she right to
encourage them to hide them and avoid using them? Why or why not?