Sunday, October 10, 2010

Maggie Bean Stays Afloat by Tricia Rayburn

This book is the second in the Maggie Bean series, and I gave it a rating of four out of five. You should read the first book, The Melting of Maggie Bean, before reading this one. Maggie's confidence is pretty high, and she decides to tell Peter that she wants to be more than friends. He nicely tells her that he doesn't feel the same way, but Maggie is devastated. She distracts herself by working with Arnie to start a support group for overweight children and by getting a job as a swim teacher at a summer camp. In addition, her parents are looking to buy a house, possibly in a new school district, and she's losing touch with her best friend, Aimee. Maggie has sworn off boys after the Peter episode, but a cute camp counselor named Ben seems to take on interest in her. Her whole world gets turned around and may drive her back to overeating.

This book is probably more appealing to female readers. Maggie's main internal conflicts are with boys and her social life. Her new friends are nice enough, but Maggie seems to be so focused on her own issues that she forgets how her own life affects others. Something is wrong in Aimee's life, but Maggie doesn't seem to notice. Becoming part of the "popular" crowd creates its own problems, and Maggie needs to understand she already has true friends before it's too late.

I enjoy Maggie's sense of humor in the series, and Arnie is a memorable character. Most middle school students will be able to appreciate the social and emotional issues the characters face, and they'll be able to easily identify with them. The family problems are typical too. Readers will realize that their adolescent problems are not unusual, and true friends make life easier to handle and easier to enjoy.

Lexile level from 970

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