Veteran nonfiction author Van Vleet returns to fiction in this second installment of the Eliza Bing series.
After a summer spent making friends, losing friends, and discovering a passion for taekwondo, Eliza Bing is ready to tackle the sixth grade alongside her best and only close friend, Annie. Eliza has not had a great track record socially, largely as a consequence of her ADHD, but is determined to be the “best best friend” anyone could ask for. Operation BBF launches Eliza out of her comfort zone and into the cast of the school play, a fractured-fairy-tale twist on “Cinderella.” Though Eliza is there to support Annie’s theatrical aspirations, she soon finds her ADHD gives her unique skills in improv and comedic timing, causing jealous feelings that lead to a rift that threatens the girls’ friendship. Van Vleet rounds out the primary plot with family drama, a budding romance, and Eliza’s quest for her next taekwondo belt. Though stymied at almost every turn, she learns to go with the flow as lessons learned from improv and athletic pursuits converge with her social and familial relationships. As a first-person narrator, Eliza is endearing and authentic; one looks forward to her ongoing adventures in growing up. Eliza, Annie, and the majority of the supporting characters present as white.
Eliza Bing is a star on the rise. (Fiction. 8-12)