Determined to find new best friends in her new school, fifth-grader Chloe Silver makes mistakes, but her essential kindness helps her out.
Torn between the overtures of popular, pale-skinned mean-girl Monroe Reeser and the company of oddball science-table mates Lucy Tanaka and Theo Barnes, Chloe struggles to find a balance. She'd love to join a club, and Monroe offers the "It Girls," while Lucy and Theo propose "The Kindness Club," named for their science project to raise serotonin levels by doing acts of kindness. (Their special focus is Lucy's cranky neighbor, Mrs. Gallagher). Chloe also faces changes in her family. Now she sees her father only on Wednesday nights and alternating weekends, and she has to share that time with his new girlfriend and her accomplished daughter. Though naturally a positive thinker, Chloe is having a hard time. Readers may, too, as they watch her get sucked into a series of deceptions and absorb the lessons that seem to propel this well-meant series opener. As depicted on the cover, Lucy is Asian while Chloe and Theo are white. The first-person narrative is awkward in places, with unconvincing dialogue and incidents that don’t propel the story. Both Mrs. Gallagher and Chloe change their ways surprisingly suddenly.
On the bright side, maybe things will get better for Chloe and her readers in the next installment. (Fiction. 8-11)