Starting School with an Enemy

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"Hurray for strong girl characters!"*Author Elisa Carbone bursts onto the middle-grade scene with a laugh-out-loud story of a girl who tackles life head-on. Ten-year-old Sarah definitely has an attitude. But who can blame her? Her family dragged her along on their move from Maine to Maryland, she's left her best friend behind, and the first kid her age she meets calls her a "sick-o." What did she do? All Sarah really wants is to make a good friend. But just as it looks as if she might find one in fast-talking, soccer-playing Christina Perez,
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Overview

"Hurray for strong girl characters!"*Author Elisa Carbone bursts onto the middle-grade scene with a laugh-out-loud story of a girl who tackles life head-on. Ten-year-old Sarah definitely has an attitude. But who can blame her? Her family dragged her along on their move from Maine to Maryland, she's left her best friend behind, and the first kid her age she meets calls her a "sick-o." What did she do? All Sarah really wants is to make a good friend. But just as it looks as if she might find one in fast-talking, soccer-playing Christina Perez, Sarah's newfound enemy launches a crusade to make her life miserable. And Sarah can't stop herself from getting revenge—even though it threatens her new friendship.Lots of laughs and spunky characters abound in this totally entertaining middle-grade novel, reminiscent in style to those of Barbara Park and Judy Blume. Sarah's witty observations and trouble making antics make for fun reading, and readers—even reluctant ones—will cheer as she finds an inventive solution to her "enemy" problem."Sarah is exactly the kind of kid who will have readers (both girls and boys) rallying behind her as she tries to tackle a multitude of problems brought on by a family move. I loved her `never say die' attitude!"                        —*Barbara Park, author of Mick Harte Was Here"Fast-paced and funny—and much, much more! Meet Sarah—up to her ears in trouble. Will you clap for her at the end of this lively book? You bet youwill!"                —Barbara Robinson, author of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Worried about finding friends when she moves from Maine to Maryland, ten-year-old Sarah gets off to a bad start by making an enemy of a boy.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A new girl stands up to the class bully after a major misunderstanding. In a starred review, PW said, "Carbone shapes characters with such lifelike dimension and through conversation so true that her story is at once comfortably familiar and entirely novel." Ages 8-12. (June) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
Sarah is just ten, and when you are ten you move, at best, unwillingly. When, right before school starts, you incur the enmity of a future classmate (a nasty, suspicious boy, at that), you are on a slippery slope to despair. Finally, after several near disastrous efforts to get even, Sarah come to understand that sometimes the greater courage is in walking away from a fight. What makes this book endearing is that the reader is pulled right into Sarah's first-person, ten-year-old consciousness. This is a warm and funny little middle grade novel with surprisingly real characters.
School Library Journal
(Gr 4-6) - It's bad enough that Sarah has to start fifth grade in a new school in Maryland, far away from her old life and friends in Maine. To make things worse, she makes an accidental enemy of Eric, a sixth-grade boy who immediately sets about making her life miserable. Sarah does make a friend, Christina Perez, but becomes so obsessed with trading insults and outrages with Eric that she finds herself friendless again and in trouble with her teacher and her parents. Luckily, her 15-year-old brother comes to her rescue with some sage advice, and the girl is able to salvage the rest of the school year. Sarah is a likable, fallible character along the lines of Paula Danziger's Amber Brown or Claudia Mills's Dinah. Except for Sarah's fast-talking friend Christina, the other characters are sketchily drawn (even Eric is a stock character, although readers are given a clue as to why he is so obnoxious), but the breezy tone and fairly short and simple plot will keep even reluctant readers hooked until the end. - Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library.
Kirkus Reviews
A story that starts out like any other about playground quarrels, but briskly moves into some gratifying intricacies about the nature of fighting and winning. Sarah's family has just moved to Maryland from Maine; as the result of a misunderstanding, fifth-grader Sarah accidentally makes an enemy of Eric, a local jerk who seems dedicated to making her life miserable once school starts. Sarah is tough and feisty, and can give as good as she gets, but her efforts at revenge inspire Eric and alienate her friends, teachers, and family. It is finally Jerod, Sarah's 15-year-old brother, who helps her see what she must do, while concealing his wisdom behind delightfully rendered versions of teenage grunts: "Eup," "Watchupto?" and "Kive suma dat?" Sarah has a hard, Zen-like lesson to learn; her new friends are more important than her enemies, and the only way to get rid of Eric is to absorb his abuse without responding until he gets bored. Carbone keeps this realistic by not going too easily on her heroine; Eric doesn't get bored right away, so Sarah withstands a lot of misery before she attains her goal. It doesn't hurt that Eric finds someone else to fight with, giving Sarah insight as to why the other children were egging her on: It's stimulating to watch the antics of adversaries. Shrewdly, with sharp characterizations, Carbone delivers a difficult lesson in an exciting tale. (Fiction. 8-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679886396
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 6/9/1998
  • Pages: 112
  • Age range: 8 - 13 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.68 (w) x 8.57 (h) x 0.54 (d)

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