Amber Brown is facing two tough challenges: her recently blended family is in the midst of moving to a new home, and she can’t seem to focus on pending high-pressure standardized tests at school.
Even though her mom is now remarried, Amber doesn’t want to leave the home she and her parents shared. She has always been a person who lets her imagination wander, exploring new tracks; it’s a charming and positive characteristic, but it stands in the way of solving complicated word problems on state-mandated tests. Of course, the coming move and her inability to focus are related. She now has to attend Saturday Academy to prepare for those scary tests. That’s time she usually gets to spend with her dad, but he’s just started dating the new dance teacher at her school, Miss Isobel, yet another complication—and distraction—for Amber. “Miss Isobel is just a little too sparkly for comfort. She makes me want to turn off a light somewhere,” Amber thinks. As in previous outings, Amber aptly, capably and satisfyingly explores issues common to kids her age. The challenges she faces are just hard enough to sustain interest, while permitting an anxiety-relieving resolution for her audience.
Even though filtered through numerous works and new authors, Amber’s voice remains fresh, funny and achingly honest—traits readers love about her. (Fiction. 7-11)