For eighth-grader Dina, being the new girl at school is a disaster.
Bewildered by her transition from popular girl to social outcast, Dina retreats behind her video camera. She hopes that the filter of the lens will help her decode life at her trendy new middle school. A school project with reigning “it girl” Chelsea seems to be a perfect chance for Dina to improve her social status. Meanwhile, Chelsea desperately harbors a secret that compels her to maintain the status quo among her exclusive peers even as she begins to question their occasionally cruel behavior. Writing in the alternating voices of Chelsea and Dina, Greenwald explores the perks and pitfalls of popularity, demonstrating how those on both sides of the popularity divide can be victims of people’s misperceptions. While Dina’s composure seems precocious at times, her practical perspective combined with her wry humor and Chelsea’s increasingly astute reflections makes this very accessible to pre-and early teen readers. In the process of working together, however reluctantly, Chelsea and Dina gain insight about each other and themselves that readers will benefit from.
This funny, nuanced tale offers keen observations on middle-school life. (Fiction. 10-14)