Review Detail

Middle Grade Fiction 389
Your family has SEVEN kids?
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Avery Lee is a thoughtful and artistic tween who values her quiet time and privacy. She doesn't get much of it because she has six brothers and sisters. Older brother Theo is getting his own room, but this means that Avery has to punk with Pearl and her toddler brother Max. She also frequently watches preschoolers Juliet and Josie, as well as baby Bea. Her father is a high school teacher, and her mother is going to school to learn coding, so things are always busy. She likes to hang out with her best friends, Cameron (whose mother is their elementary school principal!) and Dani, and is looking forward to going to the Hickory Valley fair in her Maryland town. She even is thinking about submitting some of her artwork, if she can find the time to create some when she is not exhausted from Max being up at night! She tries to earn money so that she can convince her parents to let her set up a bedroom in the basement, but there are bigger issues confronting the Lee family. While change can be difficult, Avery and her brother work together to make this important transition easier for the entire family.
Good Points
There is something appealing about large families, especially now that there are not as many of them as when my mother was growing up in the 1940s with eight siblings! Certainly, my Gen X friends and I, all of whom seemed to have just one sibling, adored the chaotic household of The Brady Bunch. What makes Avery's story particularly appealing is that she enjoys her family, who present as Asian, for all the grief they sometimes cause her. She's patient with Max and Peal even though she wants her own room. She used to play a lot with Theo before he became a teen, and the two do band together when it's necessary. She is frequently pictured holding Bea, and clearly has a lot of affection for her. There is an illuminative conversation with her mother about WHY there are so many children, and aside from wanting her own room, Avery doesn't have issues with her parents, and doesn't fight with them. She lives in an enjoyable community and has some good friends. Again, the appeal of the Bradys was that while they did have problems, they weren't MY problems, and they weren't so bad that just reading about them made me feel traumatized. This will be a wildly popular book with my students.

I almost wish that this had been a blended family, because we do see some larger sibling groups, but they are almost always combinations of children who share parents.

This will be popular with fans of this duo's Allergic and other graphic novels with family drama like Harper's Bad Sister, Fajardo's Miss Quinces, Russo's Why Is Everybody Yelling? Growing Up in My Immigrant Family, Jeong's Kyle's Little Sister, Edwards' A Tale as Tall as Jacob: Misadventures with My Brother and Knisley's Stepping Stones.
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