The sequel to Me and Miranda Mullaly (2016) recounts eighth-graders Sam, Duke, and Chollie’s largely unsuccessful but often amusing attempts to navigate the minefield that is middle school boy-girl relationships.
Chollie, the athlete, has won the coveted Miranda. Jokester Sam and Erica are a couple, while Duke, the pedantic snob, is enamored of Sam’s younger sister, Sharon. Much is happening in the final stretch of their last year at middle school: a talent show; finals; a baseball championship; graduation preparation. The boys are motivated in their relationships by the fear of starting high school as girlfriend-less losers. The story evolves in the alternating first-person voices of the three boys, interspersed with email exchanges among the girls and responses to writing prompts assigned by their teacher. These multiple perspectives humorously reveal how differently each member of a couple reacts to the same situation and add a robustness to the novel that is offset by its caricature-driven characterization. There are failed expectations on all fronts, as relationships do not live up to the kids’ imaginations. Given the six pairs of hands depicted on the cover, all main characters are white.
Covering well-worn material, from Sam’s desperate need to fart at an inopportune, potentially romantic moment to the dreaded meeting of the girls’ parents, the book is a light, amusing read. (Fiction. 10-14)