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SPIRIT WEEK SHOWDOWN by Crystal Allen Kirkus Star


From the Magnificent Mya Tibbs series, volume 1

by Crystal Allen ; illustrated by Eda Kaban

Pub Date: Jan. 26th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-06-234233-1
Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Allen deftly explores the evolving friendships of Mya Tibbs as she and her Spirit Week partner compete for VIP tickets to the Fall Festival.

Nine-year-old Mya loves cowgirls, the rodeo, and jewelry. The Fall Festival has all her favorite things! She and her new best friend, Naomi, are determined to win the tickets together, but to Mya’s dismay, she draws Mean Connie as her Spirit Week partner. Mya is stuck. Can she keep her promise to help Naomi and be a good partner? Even as she writes a very funny story, Allen neither flatters nor vilifies any characters, instead letting each one grow and make mistakes. As Mya tries to make the best of the situation, she learns that Connie isn’t so mean, that Naomi isn’t so nice, and that she herself can be a better friend. The author showcases different types of friendship throughout the story: as Mya and Naomi fall out, Mya and Connie grow closer; Mya’s brother, Nugget, tries to make friends with a jock, taking his nerdy best friend for granted in the process; and twins Starr and Skye find their sisterly bond tested when their loyalties are torn between Mya and Naomi.

Nuanced depictions of friendship coupled with larger-than-life and fully three-dimensional characters make this delightful book at once thoughtful and a riot to read.

(Fiction. 8-10)