Washington State Revew Group
"Well-written and authentic...An excellent choice for reluctant readers in middle school."
"The author captures the quicksilver pace of change and delivers an important lesson without making it feel like a preachy moral."
A daring, accessible piece of work.
Quill & Quire
"A fast, manageable read, along with relevant age-appropriate themes and an absorbing storyline."
CD Syndicated - Chris DeVito
"A daring, accessible piece of work."
Renata is a talented Brazilian teen who moved to America with her loving mother, a cleaning lady who works hard to make ends meet. Although Renata is proud of her heritage and her mother, she finds it hard to deal with Karin, an obnoxious schoolmate who tries to bully and demean Renata, especially when Karin is given the role of Renata's understudy in the school play. Readers will see Renata's character develop as she gains the courage to stand up for herself and her mother, overcoming Karin's stereotypes about class and race, and her hateful attitude. This book is appropriate for teens dealing with issues of being ostracized, but many readers will find it to be a great story with important life lessons that most can relate to on some level. Renata's experiences are inspiring, her attitude and actions are positive. They should be admired and striven for. 2005, Orca Book Publishers, Ages 12 to 16.
Cherie Ilg Haas
School Library Journal
Gr 7-9-In the first book, Renata is constantly teased by the snobs at High Road High because her mother works as a cleaning woman. When she earns the role of Maria Von Trapp in the school musical, Karin, who wanted the part, exacts revenge by accusing Renata of stealing her watch. When that plan is foiled, she turns to the Internet, embarrassing Renata with a picture of her mother with her head in a toilet bowl. The protagonist rises above it all and is the best Maria her school has ever seen. In the second story, Wilf, 14, is embarrassed and angry that his parents are forcing him to go to summer camp again. He puts together an escape plan and is blackmailed by a fellow camper into taking him along. Charlie, a younger camper who is a good canoeist, catches up to them and the three kids are forced to work together to navigate some dangerous white water. These small, attractively designed titles are high interest/low ability books. They can be used successfully with special-ed students, lower-level readers, and ELL students. Both books have appealing plots, even if they are a bit pedantic. Teachers and librarians can make good use of them to entice less-skilled readers.-Lynn Evarts, Sauk Prairie High School, Prairie du Sac, WI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Read an Excerpt
"Ohmygod! Is that what it said?"
I wondered what they were whispering about. I walked down the hall. Two girls who had been saying hi recently didn't say anything or even look at me. I suddenly felt invisible again.
I knew something was going on but what?
A crowd was milling around the lockers, talking and laughing, but as soon as I showed up, the noise stopped dead.
A few kids coughed. A few others snapped their lockers shut and left. One girl gave me a strange look, as if I had horns growing out of my head.