A fifth-grade girl, who under the moniker Genie Wishes becomes the official class blogger, must negotiate the world of preadolescence as she grows away from her BFF.
Ten-year-old Genie Haddock Kunkle has been best friends with Sarah White since “what felt like forever.” But over the summer, Sarah went to camp with a girl named Blair Annabelle Lea, and now she’s in their class. Blair, 11, is more advanced than Genie: She’s interested in boys, shaves her legs, has a cellphone and wears makeup. Usually this type of situation is presented as a painful betrayal, but author Dahl’s take is more nuanced, and Genie is no one’s rejected suitor. Although Genie initially feels bad, she has her own set of values, which Dahl (too) clearly thinks are superior, and she is willing to move on and find more compatible friends. Dahl knows what it’s like to be 10, and telling details, such as the fact that Genie and Sarah’s future plans include living together within walking distance of their jobs as dolphin trainers, are spot on. She also nails the many decisions, both moral and practical, of preteenhood. Should Genie buy a bra? Plug a line of makeup Blair is selling on her blog?
Girls should identify and mothers should approve of this gentle tale of growing up. (Fiction. 8-12)