WONDER by Rachel Vail


Age Range: 10 - 14
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 Seventh grade begins as a disaster: not only has Jessica's best friend Sheila made an alliance with five other girls who arrive dressed alike, but the new group dubs Jessica ``Wonder'' (as in Wonder Bread) in honor of the bold polka dots she's wearing. Thrown by suddenly becoming unpopular, Jessica stumbles through one awkward response after another, snubbing the hesitant overtures of Conor, a boy she really likes, and slow to realize that the best way to counter jibes is to join in the laughter. Fortunately, Conor persists, becoming a confidant as well as a first boyfriend--loyal even when Jessica assummes, wrongly, that he's been kissing Sheila during a party game. At first glance, this is just another story about friendships; but Vail has the measure of this vulnerable age and its painful concern about identity within the group. Gauche, likable Jess--seeing herself in an unlucky bird caught on a kite string, reverting to childhood in a romp with the boys in the creek, quietly saving money for Dad's troubled business, getting the crowd on her side at last by dressing as Wonder Bread for Halloween, or revealing her continuing affection for Sheila by defending her, to her own surprise--is a character to remember. A skillfully fashioned, accessible first novel, with no pat answers but a satisfying conclusion. (Fiction. 10-14)*justify no*

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-531-05964-2
Page count: 122pp
Publisher: Orchard
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1991


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