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Children's LiteratureMarcia Faitak is not looking forward to the beginning of school. Pretty and popular, she's spent the summer with a broken ankle caused by her friend and love interest, Alex Ryan. Now she faces starting eighth grade five pounds heavier, with an obvious pimple—the absolute worst thing that's happened to her in her entire life. When their social studies teacher assigns a project that forces the kids to visit a nursing home, Marcia and her friends worry that the old people will smell funny, talk too much, or not talk at all. In this fifth and final book about the West Creek Middle School gang, Claudia Mills writes with good humor and a terrific ear for young teens' dialog. Mills avoids stereotyping elderly characters by focusing on what makes each nursing home resident unique. The mother whose son was killed by friendly fire in Vietnam, the woman who wants nothing to do with the young visitors, and the fiery red-head who loves Elvis are candidates for Marcia's beauty makeovers and her friend's oral history project. While Marcia's life as an eight-grader is full of the normal ups and downs of school dances, mean teachers, and a wise step-sister, her community service project teaches her a thing or two about true friendship and lasting beauty. Makeovers by Marcia, an appealing middle-grade novel, can be read independently or as part of the West Creek Middle School series. 2005, Farrar Straus Giroux, Ages 9 to 12.