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A hamster with a microphone on the cover. An title and story line that made me smile. I never could resist squishable cuteness with fur or hilarious story-lines, so yeah, this book came home from the library with me recently. One of the newer librarians* chuckled when she saw How to Survive Middle School at the top of my stack of books. So, um, yeah, I’m definitely out of the age range that it’s geared towards, but since when do I care about that? And so I laughed, too, and offered no explanation. I just love kids’ lit that’s all.

Anyhoo, this book was just fun. In a way, it reminded me a lot of A Crooked Kind of Perfect (which even gets a mention in the story – some random girl in the school cafeteria is reading it!). We have the same basic story-lines: MC’s best friend goes to the dark side (i.e., friends with the clique or the bully), MC enjoys something and excels at it (i.e., playing the piano or making funny youtube videos), MC finds a new best friend in a child of the opposite sex, MC learns that he can’t fix his parents, etc… At the same time, it didn’t feel too ‘already read this story!’ and grabbed my interest. Realistic? Not really, but that was okay.

Still, it was fun read and had some good lessons for middle-schoolers: don’t bully, don’t let bullies get to you, change can be good, learn to apologize and, most of all, forgiveness. Oh – and on the plus side, we have another book character that isn’t entirely the stereotypical home-schooler.** I’m noticing home-schoolers in mainstream books more and more these days, which is good in my opinion. Home-schooling doesn’t work for everyone, but is amazing when it’s done right.

(Curious about the footnotes? See***)

*newer as in, she has to ask me what my name is whereas everyone else knows who I am because I’ve been borrowing books from our library for the last 20 years…oh good grief, now I feel old!

**for stereotypes, check out this hilarious video.

***Why yes, I’ve been reading a lot of Robin McKinley’s blog^ lately, how could you tell? 😉 I have a feeling this footnote thing might become addicting.

^Authors who have blogs^^ totally rock in my opinion. It’s one of the reasons I love living in the 21st century. Authors aren’t distant people that we’ll never discover outside of their books. A few of my favorites? Robin McKinley, of course, but also: Kate DiCamillo, Melissa Wiley and Shannon Hale.

^^Last footnote, I promise! Comment with your favorite author’s blog!