8 Notes to a Nobody (Bird Face book one)
Wendy Robichaud doesn't care one bit about being popular like good-looking classmates Tookie and the Sticks—until Brainiac bully John-Monster schemes against her, and someone leaves anonymous sticky-note messages all over school. Even the best friend she always counted on, Jennifer, is hiding something and pulling away. But the Spring Program, abandoned puppies, and high school track team tryouts don’t leave much time to play detective. And the more Wendy discovers about the people around her, the more there is to learn. When secrets and failed dreams kick off the summer after eighth grade, who will be there to support her as high school starts in the fall?
This story uses humor and hope to address issues of bullying, eating disorders, imperfect families, and teen suicide.
I love how the main character finds the strength to take charge and change things for herself by following her 5 step plan to making friends. This is such a great, proactive idea that all teens could try. It was wonderful to see how things changed for her over the summer as she prepared for high school. Kids at this age often can’t see past their problems so I thought the message that even though heartache and tragedies occurred, things could change and get better was very powerful and positive. This is a great book for any middle school student.
I found this to be a very sweet and often humorous look at growing up in the face of bullying and trying to figure out what constitutes a good and valid friendship. Wendy struggles with issues lots of middle school students do, and Ms. Toney tackles these issues in a realistic yet funny way (Seriously, I think Tookie and the Sticks needs to be the name of a band!).
Throughout the story, we get a few glimpses into how Wendy's Catholic faith is helping to guide her through the murky waters of early adolescence. One moment I found particularly humorous was when Wendy is helping her mom with some laundry, and she accidentally gets a towel snagged on a glass parrot her mom had "rescued" during a roadside scavenger hunt. Wendy's reaction made me laugh:
"Oh. . . .!" I clamped my lips together, having made a promise to Father Gerard at my last confession not to cuss.
Lots of Christian authors find various ways to get around the swearing, but I liked how Ms. Toney handled it by acknowledging that a lot of young teens would be tempted to let a little swear slip, but still have her character be a girl trying to doing the right thing