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by Kristen Tracy

Age Range: 9 - 13

Pub Date: March 13th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-385-74069-2
Publisher: Delacorte


Sixth-grader Bessica’s new middle-school persona meets a host of problems, including mending a friendship damaged by mean text messages, facing a bully in her first outing as team mascot and coming to terms with her grandmother's boyfriend.

Readers unfamiliar with The Reinvention of Bessica Lefter (2011) may find it difficult to get their bearings in her world. In that book, her habit of acting without thinking resulted in having to start middle school without her best friend but also won her a shared spot as a bear mascot for the school teams. This volume picks up where that left off, without much explanation. Rumor has it the opposing mascot in the first game will facebomb her. Neither Bessica nor readers learn what facebombing actually is in this context until after the disastrous event, in which Bessica literally bites her opponent. Figuratively, she also bites her former best friend, Sylvie, not only through her phone but also through a well-meant but mean-spirited birthday present. The first-person narration barrels along, as Bessica would, with neither forethought nor reflection. After the fact, Bessica spends more time justifying her unthinking behavior than examining it.

Without having met her in the first book, readers will not have gotten to know this preteen well enough to understand or care. Start there. (Fiction. 9-13)