Told through text messages, passed notes, and emails, this series kickoff introduces sixth-grade BFFs Cecily, Gabby, and Prianka. Gabby is keeping a couple secrets from her friends, including her crush on a classmate, but otherwise the girls share their thoughts on everything, from attending their first boy-girl party to joining the committee to organize the Valentine’s Day dance. Problems surface when new student Victoria hopes to join their circle. Cecily wants to include Victoria, Gabby and Pri think she’s weird, and things come to a head when Pri accidentally texts a thoughtless remark about Victoria in a group chat that Victoria is part of, leading to an exploration of cyberbullying and ways kids can counter it. In this fine successor to Lauren Myracle’s TTYL and its sequels, Greenwald (11 Before 12) realistically captures the language of texting tweens, including exuberant use of emoji, and how mistakes can be made and tone misunderstood amid rapid-fire digital conversations. All three girls are sympathetic in their imperfect approaches to the challenges of middle school. Ages 8–12. Agent: Alyssa Eisner Henkin, Trident Media Group. (Jan.)
To be honest, middle school is rough! Cecily, Gabby, and Prianka have been BFFAE since pre-K, so it’s totally natural when they don’t include the new girl, Victoria, in their plans and group texts.
Between organizing the school Valentine’s Day dance, prepping for their first boy-girl party, and trying to keep their texts so boring their moms won’t use spy apps to read them, the friends only have time for each other.
But when Victoria is accidentally sent a hurtful text message, the entire sixth grade gets called out for bullying, cell phones are confiscated, and the trio known as CPG4Eva is forced to figure out just how strong their friendships are IRL.
An enjoyable, sure-to-be popular read.
Praise for MY SUMMER OF PINK & GREEN: “[A] playful, thought-provoking novel of girl power.
Enticing and readable.
Lisa Greenwald goes beyond emojis to the power, both hurtful and helpful, inherent in this concentrated form of communication. Young readers (and their parents) will find characters who are cringe-worthily familiar!”
This gem of a book is sprinkled with just enough muscle. To all my tween book BFFs: you will adore TBH, This Is So Awkward!
Praise for 11 BEFORE 12: “Omigosh, I LOVE Lisa Greenwald’s new book. Brilliant, laugh-out-loud hilarious, and heartbreaking (in a good way), 11 BEFORE 12 is probably the best middle school friendship ever. Totes on fleek-legit!
Get ready to fall in love with these girls who use their humor and wit (and lots and lots of emojis) to right wrongs and build bridges.
Gr 4–7—Told mostly through emoji-laced text messages, TBH (to be honest) follows the sixth grade school year of three good friends, Prianka, Gabrielle, and Cecily. Their perfect friendship is disrupted by the arrival of Victoria, a new girl desperate to fit in. While Gabrielle and Prianka do not intentionally exclude Victoria, they consistently brush off Cecily's requests to include her, and never respond to her group texts. Their days are full of homework, crushes, a co-ed party, Gabrielle's possible move, and the upcoming Valentine's Day dance. But after Victoria's mother emails the principal about social cruelty and exclusion, the dance is canceled. Parents download an app to monitor their children's text messages, the girls fight, and, eventually, everyone learns important lessons about kindness, friendship, and spending too much time on their phones. Prianka and a boy named Vishal are the only explicitly non-white characters. Readers familiar with Hindu culture will recognize references to Bal Vishar. The characters in each text exchange are notated by their first initials at the beginning of the entry, which can create some confusion. The finished book will be in two colors which should help with tracking and make the emojis easier to see. While timely, the characters remain flat and the theme feels tacked onto a rather slight story line. Fans of the format, however, may be willing to overlook the book's flaws. VERDICT A supplemental purchase for larger tween collections.—Suzanne Myers Harold, Astoria Public Library, OR
In a story told entirely through text messages, emails, homework assignments, handwritten notes, and diary entries, three longtime besties discover it's OK to welcome new friends into your life without leaving the old ones behind.Cecily, Gabrielle, and Prianka have started the second half of their sixth-grade year, and some changes are afoot: Gabby might have to move, there's a Valentine's Day dance on the horizon (and dates with boys!), and there's a new girl at school, Victoria. When Gabby is paired with lonely Victoria for an assignment, Pri and Cecily go on high alert because Victoria seems so desperate to fit in. What if she steals Gabby from them? When someone starts sending Victoria mean texts, the principal intervenes, asking kids and parents to help "eradicate" the sixth-grade "social cruelty" or the Valentine's dance will be canceled—but the girls' attempts to include Victoria in their group texts backfire when Pri accidentally sends a rude comment about her to the entire group. Greenwald (Kale, My Ex, and Other Things to Toss in a Blender, 2017) successfully blends emojis and text to bring the high drama and emotional changes of middle school to life. Everyone appears to be white, except Prianka and the boy she likes, who are both Indian and attend Bal Vihar classes (for Hindu language and culture). A glossary of textspeak is provided.This first in a new series for preteens and young teens who value friendship and doing the right thing is pretty endearing. (Fiction. 8-13)
Enticing and readable.