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by Phoebe Stone

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-439-80245-1
Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Negotiating her way in and out of the popularity contest that is sixth grade, Jessie finds herself and some true friends. She is wise enough to know from the start that most of her classmates are on-again/off-again friends and sometimes it’s hard to tell what each day will bring. Conrad, the most popular, admired boy in school, has been the object of her unrequited love since second grade. When Conrad falls victim to a mysterious illness that leaves him limping and weak, his popularity seems to diminish. Jessie establishes a tentative friendship with Conrad and a younger boy who is also somewhat of an outsider. Stone incorporates a loving family, small-town life with several eccentric inhabitants and even a bit of mystery into Jessie’s story. At times it’s a bit of mishmash, but the side stories are delightful and Jessie is such an engaging, innocent/wise character, that the reader will forgive all, especially as there is a lovely, happy ending. Sweet and winning. (Fiction. 9-12)