DARE TO BE, M.E.! by Anne LeMieux


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Age Range: 10 - 12
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 Storm clouds gather but don't stand a chance in this sunny, thematically encyclopedic follow-up to Fruit Flies, Fish & Fortune Cookies (1994). Though her friend Ben moves away just before the start of seventh grade, Mary Ellen Bobowick is delighted to learn that her bosom buddy, Justine, is returning from a year in Paris. Justine is changed, though, in several worrisome ways; in the wake of her parents' separation she has become self-deprecating, especially about her nonexistent weight problem. In a story filled with subplots and modeled behavior, LeMieux offers a primer for students entering junior high: the rotating schedule, heavy-duty homework, a class in self-esteem (``Dare To Be Different!!! Dare To Be Yourself!!!''), cafeteria food, classroom politics (Mary Ellen runs for homeroom rep), first dates, first kiss. A veritable sheaf of issues are covered: nose rings, the damage fashion photography and dolls do to a girl's body image, bullies, and vanishing rainforests. By the end, all skies are blue again- -Mary Ellen has a string of triumphs and good deeds to her credit, Justine is seeing a therapist for an eating disorder, and her parents are thinking of getting back together. The Bobowicks aren't quite the Krupniks, but they're well worth a visit, and the lessons slide down easily. (b&w illustrations, not seen) (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: July 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-380-97496-7
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1997


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