What could be worse than cleaning other people’s toilets on the weekends? Cleaning the toilets of the two most popular girls in eighth grade, that’s what.
Rachel Lee needs to raise $300 fast, having stolen it from her college fund to buy a ticket to Florida to convince her father to return to the family. In order to pay her fund back before her mother finds out, she enlists as a helper in her mother’s new cleaning business. As she gains access to the bedrooms of some key people in her middle school, Rachel makes some decisions that come back to haunt her, escalating the very problems she is trying to solve. After causing untrue rumors to start and accepting money to spy on someone, Rachel finally learns that honest conversations with parents and true friends seem to be the best tonic. And yes, the mean girls are really mean—but Rachel discovers reasons for that as well. Although most of the issues that confront Rachel seem two-dimensional, Staniszewski neatly captures the pain of a shy young girl with newly separated parents. Written in Rachel’s voice, the plot is predictable and the language simple.
The quick pace and creative storyline will attract those in the mood for an undemanding, light read. (Fiction. 10-14)