This book was written by an old friend of mine and I really enjoyed it She made the main character credible likeable with great development throughout the book A great read for young adults I was happy to see some influences from our hometown and growing up experiences. I won this book through www.10storiesup.blogspot.com as part of a feature on TD Book Week The book jacket does not mention that one of the B words is breast cancer but I found Clarissa s mother s diagnosis to be the most compelling part of the story Clarissa s reaction to it is emotionally authentic and her mother s treatment is realistic The rest of the B words, including bully and best friend are also handled well The writing is excellent, the characters are unique, and the story moves at a perfect pace I m looking forward to reading the next Clarissa book. Brilliant Best Ever That Was How Grade Seven Was Supposed To Be, But So Far Things Aren T Turning Out As Well As Clarissa Delaney Had Planned It S Hard Enough Being The Unexceptional Daughter Of A Bona Fide Beauty Queen, But Lately Her Best Friend Benji Can T Seem To Stand Up For Himself, Michael Greenblat Keeps Giving Her Strange Gifts And Mattie Cohen, World Class Goody Two Shoes, Seems To Think They Are Friends Things Can T Possibly Get Any Worse Or Can They In This Year Of Surprises, You Ll Laugh As Clarissa Takes On Boys, Bullies, And The One B Word She Can T Bring Herself To Say Clarissa Delaney and her best friend Benji are on tenterhooks as they prepare to start Grade 7 Will they finally get to be in the wonderful Miss Ross s class Clarissa feels she has been waiting for this day for almost her whole life When she finds out that Miss Ross is on sabbatical and goofy Mr Campbell will be teaching 7B in her place, she can scarcely contain her disappointment Grade 7 holds other absurdities as well Michael Greenblatt s mystifying behaviour, for instance, and annoying Mattie Cohen s persistent attempts to act like they are friends Then there is tough guy Terry DiCarlo who seems to have it in for Benji As hard as Benji tries to avoid him, Terry goes out of his way to harass him, and his menacing behaviour becomes increasingly cruel But when Clarissa s mother is diagnosed with breast cancer, this bombshell overshadows all the other traumas in her life Feisty, forthright and so very true to life, Clarissa is a delightful and heartwarming protagonist who perfectly embodies the typical 13 year old girl Her bouts of sullenness punctuated by bursts of melodrama, her conviction that even her own mother doesn t understand her and doesn t care, and her touching inability to keep up with her own ever changing emotions all of these things brilliantly capture the awkwardness and uncertainty of this tumultuous time in a young girl s life The supporting characters are equally winsome even the contemptible Mr Campbell and author Vikki VanSickle exquisitely depicts the mother daughter relationship that is at the heart of this story Beautiful is another word that starts with B and beautifully written is a perfect word to describe this book Reviewed by Lisa Doucet in Canadian Children s Book News Winter 2011, Vol 34, No 1 Another book dealing with a parent s illness I was basically crying all weekend I really liked the narrative voice in this one, definitely nailed grade 7 girl I also felt that the various storylines bullying, friendship, parental illness, and a pre romance, all worked together really well and didn t feel smushed in They just felt like a slice of life in grade 7 Another character driven novel that I would recommend to middle school girls. I bought this book and the sequel, Love is a Four Letter Word for my 10 year old daughter, but because I m writing in that age category right now as well, I thought I d best give it a read She devoured them both in two days and enjoyed them equally I love that the author has created an especially strong females voice in the narrator protagonist, easy to visualize and empathize with most of the time She has to deal with both coming of age and some traumatic life and death issues whith are handled with grace and frankness. Very emotional journey for Clarissa,she grows as the year progresses and it s very interesting to read It s also intriguing of how young she is, and how I, two years older, wouldn t have handled many of these situations as good as she did I recommend to anyone who enjoys some emotion, lots of humor and likes to imagine putting themselves in other people s shoes. well written and very funny, something that you can relate to, most of the time I recommend this book for anybody, especially those who know of somebody with breast cancer, or any type of cancer Be BRAVE I loved, loved, loved this book Not only is the voice of Clarissa, seventh grader, spot on, but all the characters are so perfectly genuine and lovable, from best friend Benji, who is terribly bullied for being different, new friend Mattie, who is larger than life, to Annie, Clarissa s single mom and former beauty queen Clarissa navigates her troubles some small ones, some really big ones with the flawed grace of a girl who doesn t always make the smartest choices, even though her heart is generally in the right place The good news is, Clarissa learns from her mistakes and realizes that not everything is as it seems upon first impression This is a story of a girl being brave and standing up for herself and those who matter to her It had so much humor and heart and I m looking forward to reading the next book in the series, LOVE IS A FOUR LETTER WORD I support independent bookstores You can use this link to find one near you or order at IndieBound The cover The words chalky effect is about the only eye catching aspect of the cover Having a solid colour for the background always seems like an easy way out to me unless it s an integral part of the bigger picture , and the bottom black edging looks like it s there just to break up the monotony The direction the girl s looking, to the top right, kind of suggests a hopeful expression, but I wouldn t say the drawn style of the girl appeals very much to middle graders.The book The first chapter a single paragraph acted like a prologue and set me up with the assumption that this would be a school story Wrong, and I loved Words That Start With B for it Although the beginning pages are heavy with narration, the brisk yet effective characterization of Benji, Mom, Miss Ross and Denise, her mom s best friend, makes up for the lack of dialogue Denise s character development through Clarissa s eyes is particularly significant at first, Clarissa regards her as a honking goose with horse legs she understands Denise s true colours better once Denise proves to care about her mother just as much.Clarissa herself is as well developed Mom is careful not to say anything too nasty about him Clarissa s estranged father in front of me, but once I overheard her talking with Denise and she called him a piece of human lint That s definitely not Dairy Queen talk 22 Her rants are hilarious this one s about astrology Well, it s a lot like stereotyping, and we learned last year in Mrs Miller s class that it is wrong to judge individual people based on group assumptions That is how things like racism and sexism get started Are you telling us to be prejudiced, Mr Campbell 40 Reactions to Michael s admittedly gauche advances are equally funny.The cancer plotline seems subdued compared to Clarissa s other school related woes I would ve expected a bigger reaction With the lesser emphasis on Clarissa s mother s sickness, it was inevitable that she would recover It s Benji s bullying problems and the Mr Campbell who is not Miss Ross which claim the front seat The justice wreaked by Clarissa, Michael and Mattie on Terry DiCarlo, Benji s tormentor, makes for a thoroughly enjoyable climax, complete with surprises and secret plans.
Everything I need to know in life I learned from children s literature Growing up in Woodstock, Ontario I was a big library kid, burning through the spinner racks and entering every writing contest I was eligible for My work ranges from contemporary middle grade fiction to magical, storytime ready picture books I am currently living in Toronto where I work in children s publishing in addition t
- 208 pages
- Words That Start with B
- Vikki VanSickle
- 09 January 2019 Vikki VanSickle