All Together Now: Picture Perfect #5

All Together Now: Picture Perfect #5
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
Release Date
January 05, 2016
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Being one half of a BFF heart necklace is serious business—and in the Picture Perfect series, each story tackles a tough friendship challenge. Through the ups and downs of life in middle school, through braces and boy bands, family feuds and fashion disasters, your best bud is there. But what happens when friendship suddenly gets complicated? Tween readers will adore these sweet, accessible stories about the power of friendship.

Gracie Hardwick has always wondered what it would be like to have siblings—which is why she is so excited to go skiing with her best friend, Mari, and Mari's big, boisterous family. It is sure to be an amazing weekend spent riding the chairlift, building snowmen, and drinking hot chocolate with Mari and her brothers.

The thing about siblings, though, is that they are always around . . . even when you need alone time with your BFF to talk about things like your secret crush. And Mari is too busy racing her brothers down the slopes, racing her brothers to the car, racing her brothers to see who can finish their dessert first to notice that Gracie really needs some one-on-one time. In fact, it sort of feels like Mari cares more about beating her brothers in the latest competition than hanging out with her friend.

When everything in Mari's house is a high-stakes contest, how can Gracie compete for her best friend's attention?

Editor review

1 review
Great realistic fiction.
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Gracie lives a very sheltered life as an only child with very controlling parents. Her best friend, Mari, has three siblings and a much more rough-and-tumble existence. When Mari's family invites Gracie to tag along on their annual ski weekend, Gracie has a lot of trouble talking her parents into letting her go, but they finally agree so that they can take a spontaneous vacation of their own. When the O'Hagan's finally make it to the cabin, Gracie is surprised at how small it is, and how disorganized everything from meals to appointments are. She has trouble with things like forgetting to close up her suitcase... and is devastated when Mari's younger brother wears her underwear on his head in front of Mari's cute older brothers! Gracie really wanted this vacation to work, but she finds that she doesn't get to spend much time with her friend, and is overwhelmed by all of the noise and activity. In the end, she and Mari learn a lot about each other and each other's families.
Good Points
I especially liked how Gracie talked her parents into allowing her to go under the guise of writing a paper on single child versus multiple child families. I think that middle grade readers always want to know what it is like to have a different family, which is why everyone of a certain generation loved The Brady Bunch, except maybe people who came from large, blended families! Gracie tries very hard to fit in and to participate in the same way that Mari does, but her inability to keep this up for the entire weekend is realistically portrayed.

While a ski vacation smacks of wealth and privilege, this isn't over the top in the way that a series like The Clique novels are, which I think will make it more accessible to readers. I didn't know that this was book five in the series. The story was well explained, but I would like to go back and read more about this engaging duo.

This is an excellent, light hearted read about real life tween problems that will find avid readers among fans of Santopolo's Sparkle Spa books, Greenwald's Welcome to Dog Beach, and Darling's Crush series.
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