Too Cool for This School

Overview

A terrific novel about middle school friendship, family, fitting in, and finding out who you are when no one's looking. 

Lane Cisco loves, loves, loves her life at Rio Chama Middle School—until her offbeat cousin comes for an extended visit and turns everything upside down. With her individual sense of style and nonconformist attitude, Angelina "Mint" Taraval is everything Lane isn't. And instead of branding her a loser the way ...

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Too Cool for This School

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Overview

A terrific novel about middle school friendship, family, fitting in, and finding out who you are when no one's looking. 

Lane Cisco loves, loves, loves her life at Rio Chama Middle School—until her offbeat cousin comes for an extended visit and turns everything upside down. With her individual sense of style and nonconformist attitude, Angelina "Mint" Taraval is everything Lane isn't. And instead of branding her a loser the way Lane and her friends expect, people actually want to hang out with her. Including the boys Lane and her best friend, Ava, like. 

When Ava comes up with a plan to ruin Mint, Lane feels stuck. She doesn't want to be mean . . . but she doesn't really want to stick up for her weird cousin either. Why can't things go back to the way they were before Mint arrived? 

And don't miss Kristen's other cool books:
CAMILLE MCPHEE FELL UNDER THE BUS
THE REINVENTION OF BESSICA LEFTER
BESSICA LEFTER BITES BACK

“Believable and drily funny . . . an empathetic and entertaining read.”—Publishers Weekly
  
“High drama so compelling middle school readers won't realize they're being exposed to a lesson in ethics.”—Kirkus Reviews
 
“Snappy, intelligent prose . . . an excellent title.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Kristen Tracy reminds us of our best and worst moments in middle school, handling both the triumphs and the mortifying moments with just the right mix of surprise and worry.” —readergirlz.com
 

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Lane Cisco works hard to be popular and, as a result, her life is pretty perfect. She has three amazing best friends and a “secret boyfriend” (they’ve held hands and texted, but aren’t “official” yet). Best of all, Lane has just been chosen to be sixth-grade class captain, a pinnacle of popularity. These successes are thrown into flux when her Alaskan cousin Angelina (nicknamed Mint) comes to stay for a month. Independent-minded Mint couldn’t care less about fitting in, and she ignores “girl code,” quickly befriending Lane’s secret boyfriend, Todd, and moving in on a boy that Lane’s friend Ava has a crush on. As Mint gains notoriety, Ava begins a quest to crush Mint, and Lane is torn between protecting Mint and being infuriated by her cousin’s behavior. Tracy (Bessica Lefter Bites Back) gives Lane a believable and drily funny voice in this story about loyalty and the complexities of friendship and family. Though the plot is somewhat slow to build, the humorous moments and ethical quandaries make it an empathetic and entertaining read. Ages 10–up. Agent: Sara Crowe, Harvey Klinger. (Aug.)
Children's Literature - Meredith Kiger
Twelve-year-old Lane Cisco is enjoying life in middle school. She has just been selected class leader and has a group of very good girl friends. When her mother informs her that her cousin “Mint” is coming to stay for a month while her mother is on a trip, it immediately throws a wrench in Lane’s perfect life. Not only will Mint be staying with the family but sharing Lane’s room. Lane does not welcome Mint with open arms even though her father has stressed the importance of family. When Mint turns out to be a carefree spirit with a personality and warmth that attracts others, Lane and her friends become jealous and spiteful. Even their so-called boyfriends think Mint is cool. When Lane and her friends have had all they can take, they concoct a scheme to embarrass Mint and turn others against her. It is big drama for a group of sixth graders whose main goal in life seems to be pettiness that borders on bullying. Will the scheme backfire on Lane or will she and Mint become friends before she has to return home? This lesson in learning to accept others and ourselves will hit a note with middle school students. Reviewer: Meredith Kiger, Ph.D. AGERANGE: Ages 11 to 13.
School Library Journal
09/01/2013
Gr 5–7—Sixth-grader Lane Cisco's life near the top of the middle school hierarchy is just about perfect. She nailed her interview to be a class leader, and now she just wishes that her "secret" boyfriend would be a little more official. Then her cousin arrives for an extended visit from Alaska. Mint dresses wrong, talks wrong, and thinks wrong. Lane is sure she'll be branded a loser and hopes she doesn't bring her down with her. Lane's world is turned upside down when Mint isn't shunned. Instead, her classmates think she's cool-even the boys Lane and her BFF, Ava, are crushing on. When Ava concocts a plan to ruin Mint, Lane's loyalties are torn. The protagonist is a rather unreliable, unsympathetic narrator who doesn't gain much insight as the plot progresses, and she seems to have an inordinate amount of unsupervised time at school. Certain plot contrivances are oddly jarring, such as the abruptness of Mint's visit, Lane's parents' reluctance to tell her of the visit beforehand, and their decision to lie to the school district and share that lie with a 12-year-old, among others. Still, the author has a real sense of tween dialogue, relationship dynamics, and preoccupations. Readers will recognize the Lanes in their lives and root for Mint in this gentle story of friendship and individuality.—Brenda Kahn, Tenakill Middle School, Closter, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
It's not easy being cool. Especially in the sixth grade. Lane Cisco is pretty sure grade six is going to be a smooth ride. She has the right clothes, the right friends and the right secret boyfriend. She's even chosen to be a class officer, which means pizza meetings and planning all the dances. Life is pretty great until her parents announce an extended visit from her cousin, Mint, who lives in Alaska. Mint turns out to be the kind of girl who revels in the unconventional, and Lane and her friends quickly realize that Mint is less an embarrassment and more of a threat. Tracy delivers a compelling read about problems many early-adolescent readers will find familiar. Lane and her friends are believable and recognizable, if a little interchangeable, and their dialogue among themselves rings true. The adults in the novel are less lucky; teachers are either absent or stiff, and Lane's parents display a curious lack of empathy when they require Lane to share her life with a girl who's essentially a stranger. Nevertheless, their emotions will ring true with readers, no matter how far in the past middle school lies. High drama so compelling middle school readers won't realize they're being exposed to a lesson in ethics. (Fiction. 10-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375872969
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 2/24/2015
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 552,451
  • Age range: 10 years

Meet the Author

Kristen Tracy

KRISTEN TRACY grew up in a small town in Idaho surrounded by cows. She did not think it was cool. And that's why you won't find any cows in this book. She is the acclaimed author of the middle-grade novels Camille McPhee Fell Under the Bus, The Reinvention of Bessica Lefter, and Bessica Lefter Bites Back, as well as the young adult novels Lost It, Crimes of the Sarahs, A Field Guide for Heartbreakers, and Sharks & Boys.  She lives with her family in Rhode Island in a tree-lined, cowless city, where she is very happy. Visit her at kristentracy.com.

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