Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Trauma Queen by Barbara Dee

This book deals with many different issues for young adults, and I gave it a rating of five out of five. Marigold, Mari, moves to a new town with her mother and little sister for the last three weeks of the school year. Her parents are divorced, and her mother is a performance artist who frequently embarrasses Mari with her behavior. Her mother pours oil over her own head during career day, wraps herself in Saran Wrap to show plastic surgery, and then insults her best friend's mother with her performance of Nu-Trisha. Mari's best friend, Emma, may not speak to her anymore, and now her father plans to get remarried to "The Horrible Mona Woman". The kids at school are at war with each other, and Mari just wants to fit in quietly. That's going to be difficult to do after she wears her monkey pajamas to school (it wasn't Spirit Week like her mother said), and a boy starts to like her even though a popular girl has her eye on him. Then, Mari's mom announces that she's going to teach an improvisation class at Mari's school which will totally ruin her life!

Mari's problems are real-life, and her mother's actions are unexpected and amusing. The conflict with her mom grows until Mari starts to talk, and listen, to her mom and Gram. Mari's mom just asks that Mari look at her through her own eyes, not the eyes of everyone else. The plot builds to a nice climax with Mari's mom hosting a show of student performers, and it comes to a happy ending. The book has a nice message about the relationship between kids and their parents.

Lexile level from 660

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