A 12-year-old girl with big dreams struggles to reconcile her towering ambition with the demands of just being a good person.
Charlie C. Cooper, a smart, strong-minded fashionista and computer whiz, needs to figure out how to win a starring role in a new television series about a girls’ gymnastics team while at the same time getting her on-again, off-again friend, Marta Urloff, a spot on the school team for the Junior Olympics. Recent television coverage has billed Charlie an “Ex-bully, Turned Selfless Do-gooder,” but real life is more complicated than that for Lennon’s initially unlikable protagonist. While it is true that Marta’s true talent and calling is gymnastics and the Junior Olympics serves her long-term interests best, she also has an opportunity to audition for the same television role as Charlie. To prevent this from happening, Charlie, in an unconvincing scene, lies. Charlie’s falsehood is discovered, poisoning her popularity, disappointing her family and turning off the boy of her dreams. How Charlie takes her lumps and works to make everything right is the crux of this amusing tale, which gains momentum and readers’ sympathies as the story progresses.
Lennon’s over-the-top tale and larger-than-life characters and situations aren’t exactly credible, but readers who like their characters big and brash will suspend their disbelief and enjoy. (Fiction. 7-11)