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Words That Start with B
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Words That Start with B

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  119 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Brilliant. Best-ever. That was how grade seven was supposed to be, but so far things aren't turning out as well as Clarissa Delaney had planned. It's hard enough being the unexceptional daughter of a bona-fide beauty queen, but lately her best friend Benji can't seem to stand up for himself, Michael Greenblat keeps giving her strange gifts and Mattie Cohen, world-class goo...more
Paperback, 207 pages
Published September 14th 2010 by Scholastic Canada (first published January 1st 2000)
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It seems that a lot of books my daughter and I have read in the past year deal with Grade 7. Ah yes… the beginning of high school (here in Quebec) or middle grade, it seems everywhere else. It’s the year most kids are twelve going on thirteen and experiencing the ups and downs of growing up. As Clarissa, the main character in Words That Start With B says, “…the first day of school used to mean the death of summer. This year the first day of school means the first day of the rest of my life.”

I loved, loved, loved this book. Not only is the voice of Clarissa, seventh grader, spot on, but all the characters are so perfectly genuine and lovable, from best friend Benji, who is terribly bullied for being different, new friend Mattie, who is larger than life, to Annie, Clarissa’s single mom and former beauty queen. Clarissa navigates her troubles (some small ones, some really big ones) with the flawed grace of a girl who doesn’t always make the smartest choices, even though her heart is g...more
Canadian Children's Book Centre
Clarissa Delaney and her best friend Benji are on tenterhooks as they prepare to start Grade 7. Will they finally get to be in the wonderful Miss Ross’s class? Clarissa feels she has been waiting for this day for almost her whole life. When she finds out that Miss Ross is on sabbatical and goofy Mr. Campbell will be teaching 7B in her place, she can scarcely contain her disappointment.

Grade 7 holds other absurdities as well — Michael Greenblatt’s mystifying behaviour, for instance, and annoying...more
The cover:

The words’ chalky effect is about the only eye-catching aspect of the cover. Having a solid colour for the background always seems like an easy way out to me (unless it’s an integral part of the bigger picture), and the bottom black edging looks like it’s there just to break up the monotony. The direction the girl’s looking, to the top-right, kind of suggests a hopeful expression, but I wouldn’t say the drawn style of the girl appeals very much to middle-graders.

The book:

The first chap...more
M-E Girard
This book was so grade seven. Reading it took me right back to that time. I'm a YA lover but besides Harry Potter, Middle Grade books haven't really been of interest to me. I was pleasantly surprised and flipped pages like crazy until the end came. It was a solid story with characters that drew me in right away. Great subject matter is touched on, but mostly, it's the little "grade seven" details that really had me smiling. It was all so accurate that I found myself going, "OMG! So true!" Things...more
Yolanda Ridge
I won this book through as part of a feature on TD Book Week. The book jacket does not mention that one of the B words is breast cancer but I found Clarissa's mother's diagnosis to be the most compelling part of the story. Clarissa's reaction to it is emotionally authentic and her mother's treatment is realistic. The rest of the B words, including bully and best friend are also handled well. The writing is excellent, the characters are unique, and the story moves at...more
Raissa Chernushenko
I bought this book and the sequel, "Love is a Four Letter Word" for my 10 year old daughter, but because I'm writing in that age category right now as well, I thought I'd best give it a read. She devoured them both in two days and enjoyed them equally. I love that the author has created an especially strong females voice in the narrator/protagonist, easy to visualize and empathize with - most of the time. She has to deal with both "coming of age" and some traumatic "life and death" issues whith...more

Another book dealing with a parent`s illness (I was basically crying all weekend). I really liked the narrative voice in this one, definitely nailed grade 7 girl. I also felt that the various storylines - bullying, friendship, parental illness, and a pre-romance, all worked together really well and didn`t feel smushed in. They just felt like a slice of life in grade 7. Another character-driven novel that I would recommend to middle school girls.
Very emotional journey for Clarissa,she grows as the year progresses and it's very interesting to read. It's also intriguing of how young she is, and how I, two years older, wouldn't have handled many of these situations as good as she did. I recommend to anyone who enjoys some emotion, lots of humor and likes to imagine putting themselves in other people's shoes.
The chapters all start with "b"! I love it. The voice of the main character sounds quite real. There are a lot of twists in the story. Although the intended audience is teens, as an adult I found it quite a good read. It deals with many themes -- all important in today's world.
This book was written by an old friend of mine and I really enjoyed it. She made the main character credible & likeable with great development throughout the book. A great read for young adults! I was happy to see some influences from our hometown and growing up experiences.
well written and very funny, something that you can relate to, most of the time. I recommend this book for anybody, especially those who know of somebody with breast cancer, or any type of cancer. Be BRAVE!
Shelly Stasney
This is a hard to put down read. This will be an easy sell in the classroom. Everyone yearns for a friend like Benji.
Daria Do

AMAZING SERIES!! Definitely 5 stars!! Loved it.
finished the book really fast!
Pei Zhi Lin
Clarissa is a 7th grader, and nothing is going right. She didn't get the teacher she hoped for, and she found out her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Most people in her school finds out and then Mattie Cohen, the goodie-two-shoes, starts talking to her, and Micheal is giving gifts to Clarissa, and she starts developing feelings for him. Also, Benji, Clarissa's best friend, is having bullying problems. Clarissa is going through challenges, changes and surprises through grade 7.

I picked u...more
Carrie Gelson
Many things I liked about this book . . . let's see if I can start them all with B
Best friends that make one smile just to know that friends like that matter
Bullies and some bystanders that in the end, don't stand by
Bumps of the health and growing up kind that are so well handled
Believable characters that could just as well live down the road or around the corner

Looking now for other books by this author!

FIC VAN; Reality Fiction; jUNE 2011
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My first middle grade novel, Words That Start With B, came out September 2010 from Scholastic Canada, followed by Love is a Four-Letter Word and Days That End in Y, the conclusion to this contemporary trilogy. I wanted to capture the middle school years of best friends Benji and Clarissa. My newest coming of age story, Summer Days, Starry Nights came out in June 2013. Think Dirty Dancing without t...more
More about Vikki VanSickle...
Love Is A Four Letter Word Summer Days, Starry Nights Days That End in Y A comme Amour C comme Catastrophe

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