Preteen girls will love this new title. It’s filled with much of what they’re thinking about or currently facing: New friends, old friends, cute boys, getting rid of old toys, and going shopping for… YIKES… a first bra (It may take me a few days to recover from that chapter). It’s told through the eyes of 12-year-old Julia and her voice is spot on for this age. The author typically writes YA so she does push the limits on this one, but thankfully it remains in the MG world where girls around 10-12 will enjoy.
PUBLICATION DATE:2014 Page Count: 203
FULL PLOT (From Amazon):
It is summertime, and twelve-year-old Julia Richards cannot stand the anticipation. Everyone on Darcy Lane seems to be holding their breath waiting for the cicadas to emerge, but what Julia and her best friend, Taylor, want is some real excitement. Which arrives in the form of a new neighbor named Alyssa, who introduces a ball game called Russia . . . and an unwelcome level of BFF rivalry.
Suddenly nothing stands unchallenged—not Julia’s friendships, her crush, or her independence. But while Julia realizes that she cannot control all the changes in her life, she hangs onto the hope that everything will go in her favor if she can just win one magnificent showdown.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT THE BATTLE OF DARCY LANE by Tara Altebrando
- A somewhat rare two parent home in an MG novel, and what great parents they are – always trying to do what’s best for Julia. It shows in the time they each spend with her to help solve life’s problems.
- Russia. Not the country, but the game… I’d never heard of it either. It becomes a subplot as Julia and her friends challenge each other. With its element of coordination, Russia would be a great game to start or end a PE class, or something to do outside for bored young ones. I wanted to share this game but was unsure if I had all the rules after finishing the book. Fortunately, the author supplied all the steps to play in the back of the book.
- I liked the underlying theme that if you want to make friends just do what you like to do and you’ll find others to connect with. For Julia that means playing the clarinet. Music camp provides her with a positive influence in contrast to the girls living on her street.
- Cicadas. These insects have fascinating habits that are revealed in the pages. Julia’s town is experiencing the end of the Cicada’s life cycle and when they arrive your drawn into the sight, sound, and mess left behind.
- The characters are all believable, though the mother of one is a bit over the top with her degrading remarks directed at Julia.
I went out to the pool and sat down at the edge, with my feet in, waiting for a face to appear so I wouldn’t be alone.
Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.