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CHICKEN FRIEND by Nicola Morgan


by Nicola Morgan

Pub Date: March 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-7636-2735-6
Publisher: Candlewick

A confiding first-person narrative details the events of the last ten days, since Becca’s family left London for the country. Unfortunately, neither the worthy message nor Becca’s amusingly quirky parents can compensate for a predictable plot. Eleven-year-old Becca finds her family embarrassing. Dad is a writer, Mom’s an inventor, and Becca’s four-year-old twin brothers are decidedly rambunctious. Incensed by the rigidity of the system, Becca’s father pulls the kids out of school and the family heads off to a more pastoral life. Problems ensue when Becca, desperate to find new friends and conceal her diabetes, falls in with the wrong crowd. Her birthday party turns into a near tragedy, but Becca’s hard-won lessons in self-esteem and taking responsibility for her actions don’t quite ring true, and the revelation that her best friend back in London uses a wheelchair seems tacked on to drive home the message. Becca’s self-absorption, on the other hand, is utterly convincing but it may serve to alienate rather than enthrall the intended audience. Too much problem, not enough novel. (Fiction. 9-12)