Can You Say Catastrophe? (The Mostly Miserable Life of April Sinclair Series #1)

Overview

April Sinclair just wants what any normal thirteen-year-old would want: to disown her parents and obnoxious little sisters; to escape to summer camp ASAP with her two best friends, Billy and Brynn; and to make a good impression on Matt Parker, the hot new boy next door.

Unfortunately, Matt witnesses April's utter humiliation at her birthday party. Then Billy kisses her. Just as April is trying to figure things out, her parents cancel her camp plans in lieu of a family RV trip. A...

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Can You Say Catastrophe? (The Mostly Miserable Life of April Sinclair Series #1)

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Overview

April Sinclair just wants what any normal thirteen-year-old would want: to disown her parents and obnoxious little sisters; to escape to summer camp ASAP with her two best friends, Billy and Brynn; and to make a good impression on Matt Parker, the hot new boy next door.

Unfortunately, Matt witnesses April's utter humiliation at her birthday party. Then Billy kisses her. Just as April is trying to figure things out, her parents cancel her camp plans in lieu of a family RV trip. A summer of babysitting her sisters and "re-bonding" with her family isn't how she imagined life as a teenager. And it certainly won’t help her straighten out her feelings about Billy or Matt. Is there any silver lining to a road trip in The Clunker with her family of misfits?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
08/26/2013
In this witty and empathic first book in Friedman’s Mostly Miserable Life of April Sinclair series, 13-year-old April is endlessly irritated by her younger sisters, May and June, as well as her ever-embarrassing parents. April is mortified when her sisters expose her crush on new neighbor Matt in front of Matt himself, but that’s just the beginning. In a journal-style narrative that spans several months, April recounts being kissed (and then ignored) by her best friend Billy, suffering “complete humiliation” when her sisters catch her examining herself naked in the mirror (April is self-conscious about her “tiny” butt and uneven breasts), and having her sister June point out the tampon string hanging from April’s bikini bottom at the pool (once again in front of neighbor Matt). The final straw: being forced to “re-bond” with her family on a road trip instead of attending summer camp. Friedman (the Mallory series) makes April believably melodramatic, self-absorbed, and insecure, yet keeps her fully sympathetic as she faces the confusion of growing up, changing relationships, and figuring out what truly matters. Ages 10–15. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Bonita Herold
April Sinclair is miserable. As a seventh grader, she's embarrassed by her parents, disgusted by her siblings, and delighted with her two best friends, Billy and Brynn. But then Billy kisses her. What's she supposed to think about that, and who can she tell? To top it off, the hot new boy next door kisses her, too. Now, April's really in a tizzy. Maybe things will become clear at summer camp. She has attended camp with her two best friends every year, and she is really looking forward to it. But, wait! She can't go! With total disregard to her feelings, her parents decide she needs an attitude adjustment in the way of a family vacation. No friends, only family, for a month—and in an RV! Babysitting and re-bonding with family is the exact opposite of what April wants. Will her two best friends become so chummy that they ultimately exclude her? Worse, will they become boyfriend and girlfriend in her absence? In this delightful book about growing up, readers will discover how April learns about the importance of family, the durability of friendship, and the likelihood that some changes are very good indeed. Pre-teen and young teens will love this book. Book one in "The Mostly Miserable Life of April Sinclair" series. Reviewer: Bonita Herold
VOYA - Courtney M. Krieger
April Sinclair is a thirteen-year-old girl with major problems. For one, her family constantly embarrasses her by simply existing. For another, she needs to find a way to get her crush, Matt Parker, to notice her—some way other than her little sisters humiliating her in front of him. With all of this drama, April eagerly waits to flee to summer camp with her two best friends, Brynn and Billy. Unfortunately, life decides to get more complicated. As summer draws near, Billy suddenly kisses her, then stops speaking to her. To make matters worse, her parents force her to miss camp to take a family vacation to help her "reconnect" with her family. April is convinced it is going to be the worst summer ever. Can You Say Catastrophe? serves as the first book in Friedman's quirky series that focuses on real-life teen issues. Written in journal format, the plot moves quickly and efficiently, making this an ideal book for reluctant readers. Using an authentic voice, Friedman conveys the uncertainty and frustration experienced by many preteen/teen girls seeking to find their place in the world. April Sinclair's struggles with her family, desire for independence, and insecurity about boys mirror the same concerns that plague most young girls. As a result, readers easily relate to the main character. Although the plot drags in a few places, its overall impact remains positive. Teachers and librarians searching for novels that connect with female readers—especially reluctant readers—will want to add this novel to their collection. Reviewer: Courtney M. Krieger
Kirkus Reviews
2013-08-15
Irked by her parents, annoyed by her younger siblings and bewildered by the recent behavior of Billy, one of her best friends, April's teen years are off to an inauspicious start. In journal-style entries, April contemplates the ups and downs of her life, beginning with her momentous--and monumentally embarrassing--13th birthday. Drama abounds as April comically details her most cringe-worthy, mortifying moments. With a suddenly tumultuous love life and mischievous younger sisters who constantly invade her privacy and reveal her secrets, April is eagerly anticipating summer camp. However, in response to her less-than-satisfactory attitude, her parents have completely revised April's summer agenda. Rather than attending camp with her BFFs, April embarks upon a family vacation featuring a ramshackle RV, camping and compulsory family time. In this first title of her new series, Friedman delves into a plethora of teen concerns as April copes with body-image worries, friendships, family relationships and first kisses. She consummately conveys April's self-absorption, adeptly capturing the turmoil of the shifting stages between childhood and adolescence. While April's narration can be somewhat sarcastic, the overall tone is more cleverly sassy than harsh. However, as the summer progresses, April's maturity grows perceptibly. When a near disaster occurs during their family trip, it serves as a revelation for April, affirming the importance of family. By tale's end, it is evident that this humorous, spirited teen is poised to triumph over the challenges of adolescence. (Fiction. 12-15)
Kirkus Reviews
Irked by her parents, annoyed by her younger siblings and bewildered by the recent behavior of Billy, one of her best friends, April's teen years are off to an inauspicious start. In journal-style entries, April contemplates the ups and downs of her life, beginning with her momentous--and monumentally embarrassing--13th birthday. Drama abounds as April comically details her most cringe-worthy, mortifying moments. With a suddenly tumultuous love life and mischievous younger sisters who constantly invade her privacy and reveal her secrets, April is eagerly anticipating summer camp. However, in response to her less-than-satisfactory attitude, her parents have completely revised April's summer agenda. Rather than attending camp with her BFFs, April embarks upon a family vacation featuring a ramshackle RV, camping and compulsory family time. In this first title of her new series, Friedman delves into a plethora of teen concerns as April copes with body-image worries, friendships, family relationships and first kisses. She consummately conveys April's self-absorption, adeptly capturing the turmoil of the shifting stages between childhood and adolescence. While April's narration can be somewhat sarcastic, the overall tone is more cleverly sassy than harsh. However, as the summer progresses, April's maturity grows perceptibly. When a near disaster occurs during their family trip, it serves as a revelation for April, affirming the importance of family. By tale's end, it is evident that this humorous, spirited teen is poised to triumph over the challenges of adolescence. (Fiction. 12-15)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781467709255
  • Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/1/2013
  • Series: Mostly Miserable Life of April Sinclair Series , #1
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 795,247
  • Age range: 10 - 15 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

 Laurie Friedman is the author of many award-winning books for children.  She writes the popular Mallory books, a series of chapter books for 7-10 year olds. Critics have praised the Mallory books, saying that Mallory deserves a place beside Judy Moody, Amber Brown, and Junie B. Jones. Laurie is also the author of numerous picture books including Love Ruby Valentine; Ruby Valentine Saves the Day; I'm Not Afraid of this Haunted House; and Thanksgiving Rules. Laurie lives in Miami with her family and her dog, Ollie. 

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