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TRAUMA QUEEN by Barbara Dee


by Barbara Dee

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: April 19th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4424-0923-1
Publisher: Aladdin

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)