It’s common knowledge that eighth grade is one of life’s low points. Here, it literally makes Ginny Davis sick.
Photo-collages of poems, notes, text and chat messages, comics, realia of all sorts and, especially, food document the descent of Ginny’s school year. This convincing sequel to Middle School is Worse than Meatloaf (2007) starts on a high as the Davis-Wrights move to a large new house, and Ginny makes the cheerleading squad. Her best (boy) friend is her biology lab partner, and her English teacher likes her poems. But along with romance over the dissection table and gossip on the Vampire Vixen web forum comes a real, painful family story. Her new stepfather loses his job, forcing the sale of both his car and the new house. Her mother has a baby, premature and sickly. Her brother gets into legal trouble, committing computer fraud. And Ginny's constant tummy trouble turns out to be a serious, chronic illness. Still, the tone is positive, and the ending hopeful. This is aimed straight at those whose reading, like Ginny’s, may range from the Babymouse graphic novels of her younger days to teen vampire titles. Holm slyly includes some good suggestions among the covers and book lists, featuring both classics and modern masterworks.
Ginny’s story in pictures is both inviting and satisfying; readers will surely want more. (Graphic fiction. 10-14)