Mostly reformed mean girl Kacey Simon returns in this preteen drama with a heart.
The How to Rock series (How to Rock Braces and Glasses, 2011) has spawned a Nickelodeon TV show, and this second volume is perfectly pitched for mass appeal. Kacey's friends are recognizable types: Molly, the queen bee; Paige, the student-government geek; Liv, the vegan environmentalist; and Nessa, the self-help–book devotee. When the story opens, Kacey discovers she has boy troubles: Molly has broken up with Zander, the guitarist on whom Kacey has a secret crush, but she declares Zander off-limits because of something called the Girl Code. Further tension develops when Kacey rejoins Zander's band and meets Stevie, Zander's friend and former girlfriend. What seems poised to become a rivalry, however, becomes a loose alliance when Kacey and Stevie discover that their parents, both divorced, are dating. Kacey is a believably flawed character. Her schemes and decisions often have a negative impact on those around her, including a plot to get Stevie kicked out of an aquarium field trip and the pair's attempt to break up their parents' budding romance. But Kacey is easy to relate to, and readers will empathize with her desire to fix and control social situations, even as they anticipate the consequences.
Accessible, funny and ultimately safe: Kacey may make mistakes, but readers can trust that all will turn out right in the end. (Fiction. 10-14)