As the principal’s kid, Allie West is both insider and outsider.
She loves her secret, insider life: she gets to see what teachers are like when they’re not being teachers, and her good pal Frances the custodian lets Allie use the floor buffer. Then there is the Afters, a club with three other students whose parents work at the school and who entertain themselves every afternoon with Eavesdropping Bingo and Random Acts of Awesomesauce. Despite these perks, Allie just wants to be a regular kid—being the principal’s kid “is the worst.” Her classmates avoid her since that one time she accidentally ratted on a classmate, her now-former best friend, Chloe. Allie believes two things will make her life normal and restore her to the good graces of the students of Mountain Crest Elementary: make amends with Chloe and earn acceptance to the Pentagon, the school’s champion math club. Allie makes mistakes but takes things in stride; her cleareyed, first-person narration makes the story, and she’s very easy to sympathize with. She’ll have to learn that everyone has their own version of normal—and that maybe her life is her kind of normal. Aside from some non-Anglo surnames such as Cruz, Santos, and Alvarez, this school story inspired by the author’s own experiences as a principal’s kid appears to be populated by white people.
Readers will feel they’d be lucky to have Allie as their best friend. (Fiction. 8-12)