Author: Maria T. Lennon
Publisher: Harper
ISBN: 978-0-06-212690-0

“Your task is … to find the most bullied girl in your class and be her friend. Yes, Charlie, befriend her,” Doctor Scales tells Charlie in Maria T. Lennon’s children’s book, Confessions of a So-called Middle Child.

This two hundred and seventy-eight page hardbound book is targeted mainly toward middle schoolers, ages eight to twelve years old. With slang words such as crap, heck, and dang along with using hell and God in exclamations, there are no sexual scenes or extreme violence. With the topic dealing with bullying and harassment, it promotes learning to accept others, being kind to one another, and tolerance.

Charlie C. Cooper is a very misunderstood twelve year old middle child with an older know-it-all sister and charming younger brother. Having been expelled from a school in Malibu, California for pulling a prank-gone-wrong involving laxatives, she and her family move into the Hollywood Hills where her father renovates the dilapidated house of famous magician, Harry Houdini.

Being a fashion diva, computer hacker and spunky preteen, Charlie spends the summer grounded reading and going to a psychiatrist who instructs her to befriend the most unlikeable person at her new school. Charlie pretends to agree to the therapist’s demands, but would rather hang with the most popular, hip crowd.

As she seeks out the oddball Marta the Farta who eats her lunch in the school’s bathroom, she unconsciously feels sorry for the sad, lonely girl as she plays into the hands of Trixie, a rich, bratty control freak of the popular crowd.

When Marta and Trixie try out for the highly-prized gymnastics position on the school team, Charlie has to pick and choose her friendship, loyalty and self-worth as she accepts her past failures and tries to become a better person.

While she helps her father look for Houdini’s secret underground tunnel, she tries to help Marta find her true self in spite of multiple obstacles. Keeping Trixie in line and trying to stay one step ahead of her schemes, Charlie realizes who and what is most important.

Although the book subtly infers it is acceptable to lie to parents and those in authority, illegally hack into computer systems, and harm others by suggesting retaliation ideas, Lennon writes a fun, flippant and forceful viewpoint of a middle child coming of age.

This book was furnished by Julia Drake PR in lieu of an unbiased review.

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