Review: Words That Start With B

Words That Start With B
Vikki VanSickle
2011
Scholastic
978-1-4431-0235-3

Seventh grade was supposed to be the best year of Clarissa Delaney’s life. Instead, she ends up with the wrong teacher, a best friend who is bullied and can’t stand up for himself, a teacher’s pet trying to be her friend, and a boy with a crush on her. But none of these things can compare to the possibility of losing her mom.

This book hit close to home for me, having lost my own mother to breast cancer, though as an adult, not a twelve-year-old girl. Clarissa is too embarrassed by the “B word” to even talk about what is going on with her mom. Middle school is never an easy time, but Clarissa finds a way to get through everything that is thrown at her with a sense of humour and the help of some new friends. I really connected with these characters. Clarissa is a smart girl whose smart mouth may sometimes get her in trouble, but she has a good heart and tries to protect Benji from the bullies, and her relationship with her mom is truly special. A great coming-of-age story.

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