Brett McCarthy: Work in Progress
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Brett McCarthy: Work in Progress

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3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  124 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Brett McCarthy lives for vocabulary words, soccer, and her larger-than-life grandmother, Nonna. Unfortunately, Brett’s got a big mouth she can’t seem to tame and opinions she can’t keep to herself. And she’s obsessed with the moment she became redefined and went from good student, bestfriend-to-Diane to twice-suspended, friendless, and deadest meat in Maine. Soon her world...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2008)
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Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

Normally a decent student, a star soccer player, and responsible only daughter, Brett McCarthy isn't exactly sure what is going wrong. First she is suspended, then earns unlimited lunchtime detentions with the middle school principal, and then she is suspended again. It is enough to freak anyone out.

To complicate matters, Brett learns that her long-time best friend is not only dealing with divorcing parents, but has also lost her m...more
Sharon Hughson
This book captures the voice of an eighth grade girl precisely. I could imagine her in all her snarky glory. I thought for a few moments I had actually had her in my classroom before.
This is a coming of age type story that will appeal to 6-8th grade girls. The main character is a "jock" whose world falls apart after she makes a few bad decisions. The author depicts the middle school hierarchy and the interrelationships of younger teenage girls perfectly.
The story moves quickly with several unex...more
Karlan
This engaging teen novel has that special spark which makes the reader really care. Brett is a delightful girl who grows and learns more about herself while losing and gaining friends.
Kim
Gr 6-9-Brett thinks she knows herself pretty well: star soccer player, vocabulary ace, and best friend to Diane. But in eighth grade, Diane is more interested in the cheerleading crowd and everything is changing. A telephone prank backfires and Jeanne Anne, a new girl, manages to shift the blame to Brett, even though four girls were involved. Feeling victimized and angry, she loses her temper at school and punches Jeanne Anne, resulting in suspension. Within a few days, her social status has cha...more
Joana Hill
Read more reviews at my blog, Words and Tea Bottles.

And here we have another book that takes place in Maine. I believe I mentioned on Girl Unmoored how thankful I am for books that take place in Maine; they’re rare, especially in the young-adult range. Where it counted, Brett McCarthy: Work in Progress was a pretty good book; it was paced well, the writing style wasn’t too murky or simple, and there wasn’t any one part of the book that made me just want to put it down or read one of the other bo...more
Ryan
I may be growing up - the trials and angst of 8th graders no longer is a comfort zone, and can be just exhausting. That being said, the book is well-written, describes well the horrible social environment of middle school, introduces school administrators with redeeming qualities and provides an interesting resolution for best friends who simply grow apart.

Her grandmother's comment about illness was perhaps the moment I realized there was more inside the book than teen angst. "I have cancer," s...more
Andy
Feb 07, 2009 Andy rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Andy by: New Book Shelf at School Library
Summary:
Brett is an 8th grade girl who is dealing with liking boys, hating some girls, being a star athlete, and then... and then her world comes crashing down around her. She loses friends, destroys her own reputation, sees the ugly side of social groups up close, and that's just the easy part of her life. Brett is a thoughtful girl, but she cannot see past her own flaws. Each chapter is a vocabulary word, and as she slowly comes to terms (pun intended) with the way her world has changed, we se...more
Kelly
Eighth Grader Brett likes vocabulary, loves soccer, and is best friends with Diane, even though they are pretty different. Best friends, that is, until annoying Jeanne makes Brett play a phone prank that backfires, alienating Brett from Diane and landing her in trouble at school. Brett is forced to examine the changes taking place not just with her friendships at school, but what seems like everywhere in her life. Though the book’s early prank feels slightly contrived, Padian has constructed a v...more
Kathy Wawer
Middle School Brett is going through a sea of changes- personal and social. I like the voice in this book. She can be endearing, idealistic, and grudgingly helpful. She's also petty, a loudmouth, and clueless. These dichotomies make the book. Warm, funny, sad, believable.
Miste
Another tween book on the school booklist. Good story about changing friendships and how it feels to be "out". Middle school seems to be a time for alot of changes for kids in more ways than one and this book captures that quite well. Brett is a spunky, loud mouthed "jock" who gets herself into a little trouble at school and has some tough times going at home. She comes through it okay and I guess that is the message to kids that read it...you can make it through whatever it is. Not the best boo...more
Carol Chatfield
A really bad cover probably dooms this book, which is a very light read following eighth grader Brett through several ups and downs over the course of a few months.
The interesting part is the vocabulary introduced as Brett's moods change and she defines herself by the word of the moment (provoked, pensive, agitated - 45 different words)and gives a dictionary definition.
The story feels like a more mature Ramona (Beverly Cleary) novel with all the angst of the moment, but it's not enough to give i...more
Tessa
This book is about friendship and trust. Towards the beginning she is set up and a girl who hates her turns all her friends against her. Throughout the story she is bullied and she constantly try's to show her friends the truth about this girl. I find the ending a good outcome, but throughout the story I was frustrated that no one believed her and everything she tried made her look worse. I love her Grandma who is constantly giving her advice and believes her.
Chris
When I picked up this book, I was convinced that it took place in the 40's because of the cover. I love period pieces, so I was sort of disappointed that is wasn't. But I kept on thinking that it was a book set in the past the whole time I was reading it, and when they would IM and text, that was sort of jarring to me. But the theme of lost friendship and aging relatives was universal. Very sad at times, but enjoyable.
MaryJS
Mar 05, 2011 MaryJS rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Middle school girls and their moms
Recommended to MaryJS by: My daughter
Shelves: read-in-2011
Great book - I read it with my middle school daughter! A book for girls struggling with the BFF changes that occur in middle school. The changes between Brett and Diane explain things better than I've been able to - how we grow apart as we grow older. Please read this with your daugher when she begins to struggle with the friend changes that are the bane of every 7th or 8th grade girl's existance. Thank you Maria Padian!
Gabri(Elle)
I recently purchased this novel for three dollars at my school book fair. I simply thought it to be an old book to read when bored during class, etc. instead I became engrossed in it and I stayed up late the night after I purchased it so that I could finish it. No, it wasn't my best read by far, but I did thoroughly enjoy it. It's a good, fairly-easy read that is a good time filler. I will probably reread it once or twice.
Anita Prince
Brett McCarthy is well-liked and the star player on her soccer team. Then she makes a huge mistake: she prank calls Bob Levesque's - the hottest, most popular boy in Mescataqua Junior High - house. Now she's the "Deadest Meat in Maine." She spends eighth grade redefining herself: learning about who she really is and about the people who are really important in her life.
Ricki
Brett is a good kid at heart, but her big mouth gets her in a lot of bad places. An eighth grader, she encounters a problem that many junior high kids face--she and her best friend are growing apart. I liked this book but it didn't feel unique, and I wonder if I will remember the plot in a month. I did enjoy how Padian included great vocabulary words.
Daria
This book got off to a bit of a slow start for me, but once it got going I really liked it. Brett is a spunky character who struggles with making the right choices and navigating all of the changes and challenges of junior high. And, her relationship with her Nonna reminded me of my relationship with my g-ma, which made me both smile and cry.
Elizabeth
Oct 23, 2011 Elizabeth rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Volunteer State Book Award list
I really LOVED this book! Wonderfully real and open heroine. Believable situations and setting. And there's no cutesy let's-tie-all-our-little-loose-ends-together ending to this story. And while I know that it's a YA book, I think that it is well-written enough that adults will find it worthwhile reading.
Beverly Ploughe
I really enjoyed this book! I think most middle school girls (and even some boys) will. We all knew people in middle school like the characters in the book, and watching Brett redefine herself is very engrossing. Yes, it has some sad parts, but I found it hard to put this one down. Very enjoyable!
Kate
Despite having a horrible cover which will surely never entice teens to even give this book a second glance, the story is absolutely wonderful. It has all the great elements of sadness and humor and is a well written story about maturing, losing friends, and dealing with the imminent death of a loved one.
Nancy Sebert
This book is perfect for a middle schooler dealing with friendships, family and identity. I liked the realism of the main character and the connection she has to her grandmother. Plus it takes place in Maine! An excellent choice for kids (girls) who like realistic fiction.
Jennifer
Decent book on a new sort of teen girl. Not filled with typical boy angst. The voice was confusing - couldn't tell if it was an adult looking back on her younger years or not. Enjoyed the grandmother character and Maine setting. I would definitely recommend it to teenage girls.
Samantha
MSBA nominee 2009-2010

I liked this book a lot. Brett is in 8th grade, a soccer star and vocabulary geek. One little prank, however, and her life starts to change, with a lot of her former definitions of herself going astray. Who is this new Brett McCarthy?
Flash Mitchell English
Brett is terrific, such a sympathetic character on a personal level, even though she's nothing like I was at 14 (quiet, good student, terrible athlete). I like the author's use of Brett's vocabulary words to set the tone for each chapter.
Jeff Raymond
An interesting YA read about a sort-of coming-of-age deal. Has a bit of the requisite “special snowflake” thing going, but as the type of story it is, it ain’t bad. First YA book to talk about medical marijuana that I’m aware of, though.
Lynn Johnson
Loved it! Can't believe it is too old for the SSYRA list, never saw it until this book fair.
Jess
Middle School drama plus family drama. Realistic characters made it a good quick read.
Melissa
I really liked it. The grandmother was so sympathetic...good for book club
Peggy
Loved this Young Adult novel written by a Maine Author.
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Mock Printz 2 7 Feb 15, 2008 03:11PM  
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