Irked by her parents, annoyed by her younger siblings and bewildered by the recent behavior of Billy, one of her best friends, April’s teen years are off to an inauspicious start.
In journal-style entries, April contemplates the ups and downs of her life, beginning with her momentous—and monumentally embarrassing—13th birthday. Drama abounds as April comically details her most cringe-worthy, mortifying moments. With a suddenly tumultuous love life and mischievous younger sisters who constantly invade her privacy and reveal her secrets, April is eagerly anticipating summer camp. However, in response to her less-than-satisfactory attitude, her parents have completely revised April’s summer agenda. Rather than attending camp with her BFFs, April embarks upon a family vacation featuring a ramshackle RV, camping and compulsory family time. In this first title of her new series, Friedman delves into a plethora of teen concerns as April copes with body-image worries, friendships, family relationships and first kisses. She consummately conveys April’s self-absorption, adeptly capturing the turmoil of the shifting stages between childhood and adolescence. While April’s narration can be somewhat sarcastic, the overall tone is more cleverly sassy than harsh. However, as the summer progresses, April’s maturity grows perceptibly. When a near disaster occurs during their family trip, it serves as a revelation for April, affirming the importance of family.
By tale’s end, it is evident that this humorous, spirited teen is poised to triumph over the challenges of adolescence. (Fiction. 12-15)