Bad Girls

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After meeting on the first day in Mrs. Chemsky's fifth-grade class, Margalo and Mikey help each other in and out of trouble, as they try to maintain a friendship while each asserts her independence.

After meeting on the first day in Mrs. Chemsky's fifth-grade class, Margalo and Mikey help each other in and out of trouble, as they try to maintain a friendship while each asserts her independence.

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Overview

After meeting on the first day in Mrs. Chemsky's fifth-grade class, Margalo and Mikey help each other in and out of trouble, as they try to maintain a friendship while each asserts her independence.

After meeting on the first day in Mrs. Chemsky's fifth-grade class, Margalo and Mikey help each other in and out of trouble, as they try to maintain a friendship while each asserts her independence.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a starred review, PW called this comedy about two troublemaking fifth graders who question authority "tart, subversive and wholly entertaining." Ages 10-up. (Sept.)
The ALAN Review - Connie S. Zitlow
"ME" stands for Margalo Epps and Michelle ("Mikey") Elsinger, two new students who meet on the first day of fifth grade. In this episodic story, set in an elementary school and told primarily in dialogue, the ME girls are as mean as possible. Mikey is aggressive, changes the all-male soccer team, and is in constant battle with Louis Caselli. Margalo seems sweet but is the instigator of malicious gossip and gross tricks. It is difficult to say who will read this book, because the only thing that drives the story is wondering what the girls will do next or guessing who changed the contents of Rhonda's lunch box. The stereotypical descriptions of the teacher and the students (bullies, Gap girls, and nerds) are disturbing and the figurative language ineffective, even if done to convey a certain perspective. Bad Girls is not among the better stories that Voigt has written. Readers expecting powerful language, strong characterization, and an interesting plot will be disappointed.
Children's Literature - Gisela Jernigan
Margalo Epps and Mikey Elsinger, two new girls in Mrs. Chemsky's fifth grade class, soon discover that they have more in common than their newness and their habit of writing "ME" (their initials), on their papers and notebooks. Although different in demeanor, looks and family background, both Margalo and Mikey are dedicated to upsetting the status quo and enlivening the classroom and school playground. This involves humorous and imaginative challenges to Mrs. Chemsky's strict but fair rules as well as social, gender issues established by the students, such as boys only on the soccer team. The personalities of both "bad girls", Mrs. Chemsky, and the other students are especially well developed.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Mikey Elsinger and Margalo Epps meet in Mrs. Chemsky's fifth grade class. Both are new to Washington Street Elementary, and both have a knack for stirring up trouble. Their methods are different. Loud, aggressive Mikey will do anything to get her own way. Calm, devious Margalo enjoys starting rumors and playing mind games. Together the girls are responsible for a number of dramatic scenes, in which Mikey is always a central figure. Margalo stands up for her in front of their often-hostile classmates, but neither girl quite trusts the other, and they often argue. Then, when Margalo's sneaky pranks catch up to her, Mikey refuses to let her friend be punished alone. This act cements their bond; at last, the two are ready to expand their relationship beyond the school setting, where is has developed, to real life. But herein lies the narrative's weakness. The inference is that both girls lack attention at home. But since the action is set exclusively at school, readers never learn just what experiences have shaped them into their present selves. This frustrating lack of background information prevents youngsters from fully understanding the characters. However, it is clear that they will continue to revel in the sheer delight of being "bad girls." Rarely does a novel set in elementary school celebrate the fierce joy that "troublemakers" derive from successfully manipulating the personalities and situations around them. Readers who follow the rules in reality will find a vicarious thrill in experiencing life through Mikey and Margalo's eyes. -Mary Jo Drungil, Niles Public Library District, IL
Hazel Rochman
In her landmark YA novel "The Runner" (1985), Voigt tells her story from the viewpoint of a proud, solitary teenage boy; here, her strong, mean outsiders are female, younger, and funny. Michelle ("Mikey" ) acts mean and dangerous (Why should boys be the only ones to have fistfights or play soccer or be class president?); Margalo pretends to be nice, but she's a tricky liar. When the two girls meet in Mrs. Chemsky's fifth-grade class, they circle each other, slowly becoming friends, outlaws together. Voigt has written a fast-talking classroom comedy that mocks traditional gender roles. Sugar and spice are out. Being "nice" is the worst insult. Meanness is what gets you respect. Teasing keeps you on top; so does revenge, the grosser the better. The story is told almost entirely in dialogue, much like a TV movie, and set entirely at school--the classroom, playground, girls' bathroom, principal's office. It's hard at times to know whom "she" refers to, since the viewpoint keeps switching between Mikey and Margalo and, occasionally, jumps to the smart, bossy teacher; then there are the 28 other class members to keep straight: the various bullies, the Gap girls, the smart student, etc. But the talk is very funny (Mikey had leadership, "just nobody would want to follow her" ); the action is nonstop; and the confrontations are dramatic, both verbal and physical. Voigt gets the querulous, jumpy, obsessive talk, the glimpses of civilization in the fifth-grade jungle, as the friends struggle for both loyalty and independence. There's so much attitude, but there's also failure, and readers will recognize the fact that meanness can be about anger and misery as well as glorious mischief.
Kirkus Reviews
A distinguished writer is at the top of her form in a sharp and sassy tale of two fifth-grade troublemakers.

Thrown together by the alphabetical seating arrangement, Margalo Epps and Michelle "Mikey" Eppinger cautiously form an alliance that deepens into a stormy but firm friendship. Both are bright, tough, acerbic, and fond of stirring things up, but their differences really spark the relationship: Mikey is public and aggressive, willing to punch the class bully in the nose or dye her hair green, while Margalo prefers to start damaging rumors or slip a dead squirrel into a prissy offender's lunch. Voigt (The Wings of a Falcon, 1993, etc.) creates a set of complex, believable, still- developing characters, and parks them mostly in a brilliant, very experienced teacher's classroom to explore what makes them tick. The girls are motivated not by malice but general anger (Mikey) and loneliness (Margalo); most of their imaginative, carefully directed pranks are paybacks, less hurtful than horrifying and frequently hilarious. Unrepentant to the end, this pair of unlikable but admirably capable mavericks outmatch even Barbara Robinson's Herdman family for sheer sand.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780590601344
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/28/1996
  • Series: Bad Girls Series
  • Pages: 277
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.83 (w) x 8.57 (h) x 1.08 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2004

    Bad Girls

    Bad Girls Bad Girls is a novel written by Cynthia Voigt. This story is based in Washington Elementary School and the Washington surroundings. Mikey and Margalo are both new students that get in a lot of trouble but grow to like each other. This book inspires a lot of little kids to not do bad things all the time just to show up or stand out in school. If someone really wants to stand out that badly in school, they should think of something to do that will make people like them because of a good deed they did. The book starts out by introducing the two new students in school which are Michelle ¿Mikey¿ Epps and Margalo Epps, in which Both of their initials are the same and that¿s too many ways that they are already alike. Both girls are in the same grade and yet are also both troublemakers. They both start out by pulling pranks on all sorts of people. For instance, Margalo once cut a kid¿s hair off for just staring at her. Both girls have had problems in school for quite some time, and the only way they know how to deal with it is just being mean. After the book describes some of the ways the girls are being destructive, the girls realize how much they are alike, and it starts to scare them. Mikey never thought that she would ever get that close to any person in the world because she thought she was so different. All the kids in Washington Elementary were trying to get Mikey and Margalo to be friends because they thought that it would make them happy and they would start being nice. Well It doesn¿t quite happen that way. The two girls finally come to their senses and become friends. But the trouble was not yet over like everyone thinks. The girls use each other to their advantages to make sure that they prank everyone in the school. After a while of being bad, the girls start thinking that maybe they don¿t have to be mean to fit in anymore because they already were friends with each other. So the next day at school, the girls weren¿t bad and it shocks everyone! Everyone started being nice to the girls because of they have to stay nice to all them so they all agreed and Margalo and Mikey¿s problems were over. This book is a good fiction book if you like drama, and it also flies by pretty fast when you read it. I would recommend this book to children all around the world to teach them a lesson about fitting in and a valuable lesson about bullies.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2004

    good book

    This was a very good book that I am glad I read. It had alot of good events that I could relate to. Mikey and Margalo are two very outgoing girls. They are good at telling what is on thier mind.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2003

    Bad Girls

    The book was about two girls named Mikey Elsinger and Margalo Epps. They are new to Washington Street Elementary School. It is fifth grade and their teacher, Mrs. Chemsky is very strict and organized everyone¿s seat in alphabetical order. So soon Mike and Margalo get to know each other and become friends. They both have the same initials---ME. Though they are both very different, they have one thing in common-- they are really bad! The book starts quite strong but at first the characters were confusing and I got muddled up because of their very similar names (Mikey Elsinger and Margalo Epps). But it is because of their names that the two girls become friends. There didn't seem to be much of storyline that ran through out the book except their rivalry with a classmate, Louis Casseli. The book had a few different storylines e.g. making friends, electing the class president and the whole class turning against Mikey and Margalo.There didn't seem to be any significant ending except that both M+M finally accept their relationship and have sleepovers at each other's houses. Besides, the book was written to be funny, but not laugh-out-loud funny, and was written in 9 chapters of around 30 pages each.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2003

    Bad Girls

    The book was about two girls named Mikey Elsinger and Margalo Epps. They are new to Washington Street Elementary School. It is fifth grade and their teacher, Mrs. Chemsky is very strict and organized everyone¿s seat in alphabetical order. So soon Mike and Margalo get to know each other and become friends. They both have the same initials---ME. Though they are both very different, they have one thing in common-- they are really bad! The book starts quite strong but at first the characters were confusing and I got muddled up because of their very similar names (Mikey Elsinger and Margalo Epps). But it is because of their names that the two girls become friends. There didn't seem to be much of story line that ran through out the book except their rivalry with a classmate, Louis Casseli. The book had a few different story lines e.g. making friends, electing the class president and the whole class turning against Mikey and Margalo.There didn't seem to be any significant ending except that both M+M finally accept their relationship and have sleepovers at each other's houses. Besides, there book was written to be funny, but not laugh-out-loud funny, and was written in 9 chapters of around 30 pages each.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2003

    Bad Girls

    The book is about two girls named Mikey Elsinger and Margalo Epps. They are new to Washington Street Elementary School. It is fifth grade and their teacher, Mrs. Chemsky is very strict and organized everyone¿s seat in alphabetical order. So soon Mike and Margalo get to know each other and become friends. They both have the same initials---ME. Though they are both very different, they have one thing in common-- they are really bad! The book starts quite strong but at first the characters were confusing and I got muddled up because of their very similar names (Mikey Elsinger and Margalo Epps). But it is because of their names that the two girls become friends. There didn't seem to be much of story line that ran through out the book except their rivalry with a classmate, Louis Casseli. The book had a few different story lines e.g. making friends, electing the class president and the whole class turning against Mikey and Margalo.There didn't seem to be any significant ending except that both M+M finally accept their relationship and have sleepovers at each other's houses. Besides, there book was written to be funny, but not laugh-out-loud funny, and was written in 9 chapters of around 30 pages each.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2003

    Me....as if

    This is me. Im not bad but i can be. I chew gum in class. i curse people out in my head. i laugh in teachers faces. i dont cry in front of the class even if the teacher does walk me to my mothers job for passing dirty notes. but instead im an honar student. this is how i wanna act. they expressed every thing that i wanted to do. thanks for representing every hidden bad girl me&me

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2002

    Bad Girls- Who could they be!!

    Thsi book desrcibes how some people act in America. Some are snotty adn some are nice. You have to look inside someone to see who they really are.

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