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Words That Start with B by Vikki VanSickle
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Oct 17, 10

Read in October, 2010

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.”

VanSickle deals well with the issues brought up in her first novel. Clarissa Delaney has high expectations for Grade 7. She’s going to be in Miss Ross’s class, the best teacher in Ferndale Public School, and it’s going to be the best-ever year. But things don’t turn out as Clarissa planned. Miss Ross is on a sabbatical and her new teacher turns out to be Tony the Tiger; her best friend Benji gets bullied, a boy starts giving her gifts and big-mouth Mattie Cohen, the goody-two-shoes is constantly in her business.

But it doesn’t end there. Her mother falls seriously ill right when Clarissa needs her the most. Clarissa’s enthusiasm quickly turns to teen angst and after some hard lessons she learns to deal with the rapid changes that take place in such a short period of time. My daughter and I liked Clarissa, who is brave, courageous and smart. Her behavior at times toward others was rude and inconsiderate, but the consequences were clear. There is a great cast of characters in this book, from kind and sensitive Benji to persistent Mattie who did not give up on befriending Clarissa.

Every chapter was titled with a word that starts with the letter B, hence the title of the book. It made the book unique. Some of the thought-provoking and enlightening topics my daughter and I talked about while reading were: bullying, menstruation, cancer treatment and single parenting. The book's got a great ending, funny too. I would highly recommend this read for a mother/daughter book club and for a teen whose parent is sick.
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message 1: by Ashley (new)

Ashley I am currently reading this book. I just started and thought it was boring. But I want to continue reading it after I read your review!!


Laura It's a book that grows on you--at least it did for my daughter and I. Hope you end up liking it! Thanks for stopping by.


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