Books by Barbara Dee

Released: Oct. 1, 2019

"This timely exploration of a depressingly common experience should begin some useful conversations. (Fiction. 10-14)"
A seventh grader copes with sexual harassment organized and perpetrated by several boys in her class. Read full book review >
Released: June 19, 2018

"A poignant and often hilarious slice of middle-grade life. (eating disorder resources) (Fiction. 10-14)"
It's time for the seventh-grade trip to Washington, D.C.! Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 5, 2017

"A powerful story not only about illness, but about accepting yourself for who you are—no matter the experiences that shaped you. (Fiction. 8-12)"
Norah Levy is 12 and entering seventh grade, but she hasn't been in school for the past two years: she's been busy fighting acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and now she's figuring out how to re-enter the "normal" world. Read full book review >
STAR-CROSSED by Barbara Dee
Released: March 14, 2017

"While the plot revolves around Shakespeare's famous tragedy, this story is far from one. (Fiction. 9-13)"
A sweet story of young love amid middle school theatrics. Read full book review >
TRUTH OR DARE by Barbara Dee
Released: Sept. 20, 2016

"Entertaining bibliotherapy but also a useful road map to resolution of the age-old problem of severe cattiness. (Fiction. 10-14)"
It's hard to watch white seventh-grader Lia, rebounding from her mother's death two years ago, engineer her own slow-motion train wreck. Read full book review >
TRAUMA QUEEN by Barbara Dee
Released: April 19, 2011

Marigold's mother, Becca, is a performance artist—the kind of artist who, when performing for her daughter's second-grade classmates, pours oil on herself to represent the United States, because it is guzzling oil and making a mess. Unfortunately, as Becca pursues her art, daughter Marigold gets hurt in the process. Speaking in an uneven, fragment-laden, first-person voice, Marigold tries to understand her mother's work and art, but she is unhinged when Becca uses the stage to get back at her best friend Emma's uptight mother. The two mothers could not be more different, and their soured relationship is the reason Marigold and her family has had to move in the middle of her seventh-grade year. Because Becca wants to fit in better with the mothers in this new school, she offers an improvisational acting class at Marigold's school. Becca's popular class is the catalyst for bringing warring social groups together. Peripheral characters, especially prairie-talking sister Kennedy and wise, calm Gram, help keep Marigold optimistic, even while she worries about her unpredictable mother and the damaged relationship with Emma. A downright confusing cover and an extraordinarily speedy peacemaking at the conclusion make this one a hard sell to its real audience—quirky middle-schoolers who are happy with their nonconformist status. Mother-daughter book clubs will have a lot to talk about, though. (Fiction. 10-14)Read full book review >
SOLVING ZOE by Barbara Dee
Released: April 21, 2009

Eleven-year-old Zoe is the black sheep of her eccentric, intelligent family. Her older brother is a math genius, her older sister is a talented performer, but Zoe is just plain Zoe. The tipping point comes when her best friend discovers her own talent as a performer and ditches Zoe for the popular theater crowd at their intense Brooklyn private school. Feeling alone, Zoe starts to slip in her classes, and her creepy principal puts her on probation. While all this is happening, an odd new student—a supposed code-reading genius—starts paying attention to her. At first she resists the friendship, but eventually finds that she and Lucas have a lot more in common than she thought and discovers her own unique talent as a code-reader. It's hard to imagine that the sweet, somewhat spacey Zoe is truly a budding cryptanalyst, and in the same vein the predictable, perky prose doesn't quite measure up to the unique subject matter. Not seamless, but entertaining and educational. A key to the ciphers embedded in the story appears at the end, along with a list of sources. (Fiction. 8-12) Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2006

Cassie's (12) life is turned upside down when her father moves out, leaving the family struggling to keep everything as normal as possible. Cassie's mother sells their house and moves her three children into a condo, leaving behind a decidedly ordinary middle-class life. After the nanny for five-year-old Jackson quits, older sister Miranda offers to take on the babysitting duties. But, like everything else she promises to do around the house, this too ends up falling on Cassie's shoulders. Between attempting to meet the page-count requirement in her English class journal and negotiating the typical social problems of any junior-high student, Cassie takes it upon herself to hold the family together. Unfortunately, as the family starts to unravel, so does the story. Stereotypes, like the stern, but caring teacher and the overweight, but smart classmate populate Cassie's world. Additional problems include the erratic behavior of Cassie's mother and the unsatisfying resolution of the major conflict of the missing father. Overly familiar and uneven. (Fiction. 10-14)Read full book review >