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ACCESS DENIED by Denise Vega


by Denise Vega

Age Range: 9 - 13

Pub Date: July 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-316-03448-7
Publisher: Little, Brown

Ever funny and clever, Erin tackles eighth grade. Her blog now truly private—preventing 2008’s Harriet the Spy–like reveal in Click Here (To Find Out How I Survived the Seventh Grade)—she tallies “Things That Rock,” “Things That Make Me Wonder,” “Top 5 First Period Nightmares” and boys worthy of the Hot-O-Meter. Crushes and couplings wax and wane; Erin IMs and ponders attraction’s inconstancy. Narrating in first-person prose, she recognizes her own solemn playfulness as she swears “I’m never washing my nose again” (after a cute boy taps it) or taunts her older brother with a tampon (wrapped, natch, but still horrifying to him). Beloved school custodian Mr. Foslowski, who sympathizes and provides Tootsie Pops, balances Erin’s strict parents (“They wouldn’t even let me go to just any PG-13 movie. Hello? PG-13? I’m thirteen?”). Experimenting with disobedience (skipped seatbelt; forbidden party) initiates some sorrows that are only partly Erin’s fault. Voice occasionally strains (calling her own breasts “my perky petes”?), and Vega unfortunately conflates poverty with smoking, lying and getting kicked out of school. However, Erin’s ups and downs are humanizing, entertaining and real. (Fiction. 9-13)