Review Detail

 
Kids Fiction
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A

Upbeat Middle Grade Novel


Mattie is not thrilled to have to move from North Carolina to Phildelphia over winter break, even though it means being near her beloved grandmother, Maeve. Her father is working long hours at his new job, her mother can't find work, and she has to start a new school. One bright spot is her neighbor, Agnes, who is a little quirky but very exuberant and fun. When school starts, Agnes misses the first three days back to care for an abandoned baby bird. Mattie is relieved, and is able to make new friends, including the cute Finn, who is very attentive and sweet. Once Agnes returns to school, all of Mattie's fears about her are confirmed. She's odd, and the other students stay away from her. They aren't too mean (with the exception of Marissa, who's having a hard time of her own), but Mattie realizes that if she admits to being friends with Agnes, she might lose her friendship with Shari. As her grandmother's condition worsens and the family prepares to move her out of her house, it is even more important to Mattie that her school situation is stable. Besides, Agnes gets annoying even to Mattie. Will she be able to keep her friends if she admits that Agnes is sometimes fun to have around?

Good Points
Let's Pretend We Never Met is a perfect model for what middle grade novels should include. The friend drama is paramount, but the family drama is deftly handled. There's nothing earth shattering occurring, but Mattie is affected by her family's situation. Many middle grade students have to deal with moving, parents' employment situations, and aging grandparents. I loved that Mattie was able to voice her concerns to her parents and eventually get help working through the issues she faced with their help. The romance with Finn is unrealistically wonderful, but what tween girl wouldn't be thrilled if a boy had his uncle send him a pencil for her favorite sports team?!

The other children at school are also almost too good to be true, but do serve as an excellent but realistic example of how children should behave. Once Mattie explains to them a little about Agnes, they accept her. Agnes is never identified as being on the autism spectrum, but her character descriptions certainly read that way. She is described as having a social disorder that includes anxiety, and she has no filters when it comes to her clothing or speech. Her mother's parenting is a little suspect (she allows Agnes to miss a lot of school and stay home to be watched over by the apartment building doormen!), but this is at least questioned by Mattie's mother.

Maeve is a great literary grandmother, and even though it's clear that she is in the beginning stages of dementia, the matter is handled in a positive way. Maeve eventually agrees to go into an assisted living facility and treats it as an "adventure" while still admitting that leaving her home makes her sad. This is a great example for children to see. The family faces every day adversity by working together to find positive solutions. This is played out in the case of the mother's unemployment as well. The mother doesn't hide the fact that finding jobs is difficult from Mattie, but also is optimistic about her chances and doesn't give up.

Upbeat, realistic fiction with a sympathetic character is always popular with tween readers. Readers who like Lowry's Anastasia or Nixon's Alice series will enjoy meeting Mattie, and comparable stand alone titles inclue Hurwitz's Callie Be Gold, Vernick's Water Balloon, Messner's The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z and Shang's The Great Wall of Lucy Wu.
Was this review helpful to you? 

Comments

 
 
Ordering 
 
Already have an account? or Create an account
 
 
 
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter
Based on some of literature’s horror and science fiction classics,...
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
The Disappearances
What if the ordinary things in life suddenly…disappeared? ...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Everything All at Once
Lottie Reeves has always struggled with anxiety, and when her...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Lucky in Love
Maddie doesn't believe in luck. She's all about hard work...
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
She's So Boss
Whether you already have an idea for a business or...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Wesley James Ruined My Life
Sixteen-year-old Quinn Hardwick’s having a rough summer. Her beloved grandmother...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Beanstalker and Other Hilarious Scarytales
Once upon a time, a girl skipped into the forest...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Obsidian and Stars
In the sequel to Ivory and Bone—the prehistoric fantasy...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Maybe In Paris
Keira Braidwood lands in Paris with her autistic brother,...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Revolt: Book Four of the Resistance Series
The Explosive Conclusion to the Award-Winning Resistance Series To...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
16 Ways to Break A Heart
Unfolding through letters, texts, and chats, Lauren Strasnick’s smart,...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Changes in Latitudes
A "road" trip romance that takes place at sea!...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
First We Were IV
A group of friends start a secret society in...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Orphan is the highly anticipated sequel in the ORB trilogy....
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The World Between the Trees
Jake Hunter has disappeared without a trace and when his...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Jupiter Storm
Only a week ago Grey Alexander thought she and her...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

Ruby Rose, Big Bravos
 
4.0
"Over breakfast, Ruby Rose decides it's the perfect day to have a dance recital with her stuffed bear named Bearishnikov...."
Ruby Rose Off to School She Goes
 
5.0
"Adorable, fun, easy-to-read. There are many good things to say about Ruby Rose Off to School She Goes. Kids..."