Book 2 in the Popularity Pact series arrives with even more middle school drama than CAMP CLIQUE did to lead off the series. Bea and Maisy have returned from camp and it’s time for Maisy to uphold her end of the deal and get Bea accepted into the cliquish girl’s group, the M & M’s. That means wearing the right clothes and making sure you have popular people following your Instagram account. Life for a middle school kid is exhausting.
Here’s the official blurb for SCHOOL SQUAD: Picking up where The Popularity Pact: Camp Clique left off, the second book in this exciting duology finds former best friends Bea and Maisy preparing for the new school year. Bea kept up her end of the bargain, getting Maisy “in” with the girls at camp. Now it’s Maisy’s turn to fulfill her promise to ingratiate Bea with the popular girls. When Bea is accepted into this new inner circle, she begins to lose sight of what true friendship is all about. As Bea seems prepared to sacrifice anything to be “cool,” Maisy realizes there’s more to life than hanging out with a bunch of mean girls. Can she convince Bea that the popularity pact was a mistake? Can these former friends find their way back to each other?
BOOK BIRTHDAY: October 6, 2020 PAGE COUNT: 304
Each chapter begins with Bea’s first narration followed by Maisy’s. The dual viewpoints are a perfect way to tell the problem-filled story. It’s not just the academic and social challenges at school, but equally difficult are the home situation for each.
For Bea, Mom is dating one of Bea’s teachers and dad is getting set to remarry. This means she’ll have two stepsisters who have rather offish personalities. Meanwhile, Maisy’s mom is returning from rehab after getting addicted to pills. Maisy knows she’ll just go back to her old ways and sets out to spy on her mother’s every move.
As with Book 1, School Squad will appeal to mostly girls. They’ll be in for an emotional ride, but also open them up to a discussion about friendship and being true to yourself.
FIVE MORE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT SCHOOL SQUAD by Eileen Moskowitz-Palma
- At times you’ll dislike each of the characters and then soon love what they do. Neither are perfect and make many mistakes that should endear them to the intended audience.
- The fact that a supportive family is often the necessary link to help a middle grade kid get though the often turbulent and emotional filled times of seventh grade.
- There is also a church support group Maisy attends thanks to new friend Clarke. Having a trusting person or group you can talk to when dealing with life’s detours can make you a more understanding person.
- Many of the secondary characters shine like Grandma and Bea’s teacher. It really does take a village to raise a child!
- The fanciful artwork on the cover and chapter beginnings provide a nice visual connection to the story.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR (From the author’s website) Eileen Moskowitz-Palma divides her time between novel writing and teaching First Draft from Start to Finish and Writing for Children and Young Adults at The Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College.
Eileen’s debut Middle Grade novel, Camp Clique, the first book in The Popularity Pact series, was published in April 2020 at the height of the COVID pandemic. As a result, all of her in-person events with schools, libraries and bookstores were cancelled. Rather than being discouraged, she created a solution by forming a free virtual writing camp and book club program to serve the kids affected by school closures. The response was overwhelmingly positive and the camps in high demand. She connected with kids from all across the country and caught the attention of institutions like the Providence Children’s Museum, Sarah Lawrence College, the Rhode Island Department of Education, Thalia Kids Book Club Camp based out of Manhattan’s Symphony Space, and the upcoming Orange County Children’s Book Festival. She will continue to serve kids during the 2020-2021 academic year with a variety of virtual writing and book club program options for schools, libraries, and parents. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Eileen lives in Westchester, NY, with her college sweetheart husband Douglas, their daughter Molly, and their Wire Fox Terrier Oscar, who is one snaggle-tooth away from being a doggy model.
Final Note: My review copy came with the traditional bookmark and a stroke of marketing genius… Instant advertising for the book in mask wearing classrooms and playgrounds everywhere!
Comments are always appreciated! Be sure to come back this Wednesday. I’m hosting the blog tour stop for National Geographic Kids intriguing new title—Breaking the News with a GIVEAWAY!