Humiliations? Eighth grader Pipi has suffered through almost any that you could (cringingly) imagine. But now she’s resolved to find redemption—or revenge.
From drawing her kindergarten self as a strip of bacon with breasts (a picture later exhibited to the entire eighth grade) to wetting her pants as a fourth grader, waxing off one eyebrow as a sixth grader, and having her period overflow into her white pants (and desk chair) in seventh grade, Pipi’s been there and done that. She’s also been the pariah of her class forever. Mean girl Kara has frequently stage-managed her misery—one way or another. Now Pipi’s made a list of people she’s going to humiliate. Unfortunately, her narrow focus on revenge threatens her few friendships, particularly with BFF Tasha and with Ricky, who, it turns out, has admired her all along. When Pipi finds that Kara’s joined-at-the-hip cousin, Sarah, is actually quite a nice girl who’s dealing with coming into her own despite Kara’s ire, Pipi finally begins to develop a believable maturity. The suspense is nicely sustained, and the characters, if a bit archetypal, are nonetheless plausible enough. Tasha presents black while Pipi and most of the rest of the cast adhere to the white default.
Painful though they are, Pipi’s trials neatly convey an authentic flavor of the commonplace agonies of middle school. (Fiction. 10-12)