It’s time for the seventh-grade trip to Washington, D.C.!
In an effort to promote “class unity,” the optimistic (clueless?) teachers have determined the rooming assignments, and Tally Martin isn’t looking forward to three nights with her enemy, the perfect, popular Ava Seeley. Tally’s also angry on behalf of her two best friends, who are also in less-than-ideal rooming situations with their respective former bullies. Well-meaning Tally wants to protect Sonnet and Spider from their tormentors. However, the boisterous, eclectically dressed Tally, who has always been her friends’ protector, must face the fact that she must let them fight their own battles or risk losing them. But when she discovers that Ava has become “emaciated,” skips meals, and exercises obsessively, she must decide if this is a situation she should put her nose in. Flippant and outgoing Tally is “tan,” adopted, and bigger than her classmates—not just taller, but she also has a “squishy belly” and a “big butt” she loves; she sees her fatness as a biological inheritance, just one part of who she is. Her passionate impulse to protect her friends is immediately sympathetic, as is her growing understanding of both herself and her classmates. Diversity among Tally’s classmates is implied by naming convention (Sonnet has a Japanese surname, for example) and occasionally called out. Others, including Spider, are white by default.
A poignant and often hilarious slice of middle-grade life. (eating disorder resources) (Fiction. 10-14)