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Confessions of a So-called Middle Child

Confessions of a So-called Middle Child

4.7 7
by Maria T. Lennon

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People, what you're holding in your greasy little hands is my manifesto, my confessions, written for all you misunderstood middle kids out there who have no room to shine. Yep, when you're sandwiched between an overachieving, superhairy older sister and a too-cute-for-his-own-good younger brother, how can you ever win, right?

I never really thought of


People, what you're holding in your greasy little hands is my manifesto, my confessions, written for all you misunderstood middle kids out there who have no room to shine. Yep, when you're sandwiched between an overachieving, superhairy older sister and a too-cute-for-his-own-good younger brother, how can you ever win, right?

I never really thought of myself as a "middle child." Gifted computer hacker? Check. Fashion trailblazer? Double check. Finest prankster in my sixth-grade class? Triple check.

But then something happened. Things got messy. I did something bad. And I mean really, really bad. Bad enough to get expelled for. Bad enough to have to move for, and even bad enough to be sent to a shrink for.

At first, I thought Dr. Scales was just a sad old man with a hazardous dandruff problem, but you know what? By the end of the summer, I was a changed woman. In our last session, the day before my brand-new middle-school life was to start, he gave me a mission:

I had to find the most bullied, friendless, hopeless, laughed-at, lonely girl in the entire school and be her friend. In public.

Just kill me now, please.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
After being expelled for a laxative incident, middle sibling Charlie Cooper has spent the summer grounded, reading books in her bedroom and visiting a psychologist each week. As Charlie begins seventh grade at a new school, Dr. Scales has one final assignment, “to find the most bullied girl in your class and take her under your wing.” Finding her is easy—Marta Urloff is filthy, friendless, and mocked by everyone at her Los Angeles middle school. “She was a horror. You could see it from space,” thinks a despondent Charlie. “She looked like a homeless Disney princess.” With the support of her family, a spiritual makeover (hey, it’s L.A.), and a boost from Houdini (the Cooper family lives in his old mansion), Charlie might just overcome her destructive, attention-seeking habits once and for all. In her first book for children, adult author Lennon (Making It Up as I Go Along) offers a fast-moving story with a satirical edge. Although Charlie’s biting snark can be a bit much, her empathy and heart eventually shine through. Ages 8–12. Agent: Victoria Sanders, Victoria Sanders & Associates. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Annie Laura Smith
How can a twelve-year-old girl, Charlie C. Cooper, fit in with her peers in the seventh grade in her new school in Los Angeles after she is expelled from her former school for a serious prank, grounded for the summer, and receives mandatory counseling? Will visits to a psychologist lead her to a more normal life when the counselor directs her rehabilitation in this new environment? Follow Charlie as she navigates through her problems, and agonize with her when she is told by her therapist to befriend the loneliness girl in her class so all of her peers can see her actions. Charlie's response is, "Just kill me now, please." These are some of the trials this middle child faces when she has an over-achieving older sister and a cute younger brother, and subsequently engages in attention-seeking habits. This is a story of peer pressure and fitting in, and portrays a realistic view of middle school as well as the problems of being the middle child. Tweens will enjoy following Charlie's transformation. The first person point-of-view provides a sense of immediacy to the story, and readers will feel that they are a part of her journey. Reviewer: Annie Laura Smith
School Library Journal
Gr 5–7—Twelve-year-old Charlie is starting over at a new school after an incident involving, of all things, laxatives. Entering the seventh grade, she is torn between wanting to be friends with the popular crowd and trying to be a better person. As part of her rehabilitation plan, her therapist, Dr. Scales, gives her a task: "to find the most bullied girl in your class and take her under your wing." The object of Charlie's focus is Marta, whom she describes as looking like a "homeless Disney princess." What begins as an obligatory project designed to turn Charlie into a kinder, more empathetic friend becomes a laugh-out-loud adventure as the two classmates confront truly mean girls and face challenges that allow Charlie's genuine good nature to shine through-especially when she learns a secret about Marta's life outside school. The snappy dialogue sounds like the script of a witty TV tween comedy, but Charlie is a far more likable and entertaining character than many of the girls portrayed there. As the title implies, Charlie has two siblings, an older sister and a younger brother, both of whom are excellent foils for her growing apprecation for her family. Charlie regularly inserts "True Facts" into her narative. Confessions is a funny story with a fresh and sassy, winning heroine who develops into a loyal and resourceful friend, daughter, and sister.—Shelley Sommer, Inly School, Scituate, MA
Kirkus Reviews
Eager to escape her troubled history, 12-year-old Charlie is ready to start over. Charlie's decision to lace the school lunch with laxatives in an attempt to frame another student resulted in her expulsion from school and mandatory counseling. Relocation to another school district and a new school year offer Charlie an opportunity to begin again. But Charlie's recent commitment to reform is challenged when her doctor assigns her the job of seeking out the student most in need of a friend at her new school. Soon, Charlie is caught between her determination to help Marta, a student cruelly picked on by her classmates, and her longing to be accepted. A fierce gymnastics rivalry and Marta's resistance to Charlie's overtures of friendship further complicate Charlie's endeavors. However, Charlie's attitude changes from exasperation to concern when she uncovers Marta's tragic secret. Lennon's tale addresses manifold topics, including the pressures and social issues of middle school, friendship quandaries and bullying. Charlie's eclectic mix of interests--she's a computer prodigy with a talent for hacking and an aspiring fashion trendsetter who harbors a keen interest in Harry Houdini--contribute to her distinctive narrative voice. Lennon skillfully delves beyond Charlie's sass and troubled façade to reveal her insecurities and vulnerability. Readers will admire the unabashedly quirky Charlie as she embarks upon her journey of self-understanding and transformation with verve. (Fiction. 12 & up)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.20(d)
HL610L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Maria T. Lennon is a graduate of the London School of Economics, a novelist, a screenwriter, and the author of Confessions of a So-called Middle Child. She lives in Los Angeles with her family. Charlie visits frequently.

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Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Want to read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is filled with halarious drama!See what Charlie Cooper is up to in this drama filled book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This autgor came to my school and shes really nice and i love this book!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Got the sample peeps (people) you got read this it so cool I<3 this book :) :) :)
Chrissy_W More than 1 year ago
A fun read for adults, a great message for kids. Did I enjoy this book: I did enjoy this book. It took a bit for me to get into it, I think that&rsquo;s because I am not the target demographic, but once I got about 75 pages in, I could not put it down. This was a good story for young girls. A good lesson to be learned. You can be fashionable and still be nice. You can change from your old ways. You can make a difference. It was fun to watch Charlie&rsquo;s transformation throughout this book. She should be proud of herself. There were the normal cast of characters &ndash; the cliques, the mean girls, the nerds, the outcast. But as with almost all people, you can&rsquo;t judge a book by its cover. You never know what someone is going through. Marta was a tragic but determined young girl. She was surprising, but somewhat predictable (if you are an older reader). All-in-all, this was a worthy read. And an enjoyable one. Would I recommend it: I would recommend this book to any middle grade girl and their moms. Will I read it again: I probably will, maybe even before my daughter is old enough to read it. I will definitely read the sequel, Watch Out, Hollywood!: More Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child. It is supposed to be released sometime this summer. (I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)
LAWonder More than 1 year ago
&lsquo;Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child&rsquo; is truly humorous!  It is an ideal book for the very young and older YA, too.  This story centers on the second child in a family of five&hellip;you are correct &ndash; the middle child! Having been expelled from one school, her family moves to a different location where her father was able to get a job he enjoyed and Charlie was to cause no problems and visit a therapist every week.  When the long summer ends and a new school year begins, Charlie will agree to almost anything to discontinue the therapy.  Will she live to regret it?  The therapist&rsquo;s requirement was almost more than she  could bear! Can she really succeed in such an impossible task? The reader will experience the &ldquo;roller-coaster&rdquo; of events that evolves. It will be especially enlightening to any of you &ldquo;middle&rdquo; children.   Charlie tries to &ldquo;walk a middle line&rdquo; but soon discovers it is not at all easy to do that. I personally have seen this scenario actually happen in my life in two separate occasions. It isn&rsquo;t at all a &ldquo;far-fetched&rdquo; tale. The book cover is delightful and very fitting to the story line. It is colorful and eye-catching. The title is whimsically applicable to the story. The book is fun, clean and well written in the first person. At first the &ldquo;flow&rdquo; of the writing seemed a little disrupted but then improved and ended &ldquo;with a bang&rdquo;! Four this reason, though, I cannot give it a full Five Stars rating, so I rate it with a Four and a Half Stars. *This was sent to me for an honest review, of which I have given.