FICTION

The 47 People You’ll Meet in Middle School

Knopf. Aug. 2019. 304p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781524765132.
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Gr 4-6–An insightful and humorous tale of transitioning from elementary to middle school. Gus, short for Augusta, is a brand-new sixth grader at Meridian Middle School. Not only does she have to start her new school with glasses even though her parents promised she could have contacts, but her BFF has to go to a completely different school. The book is written as a letter to Gus’s fourth grader sister who keeps asking about middle school but is ignored while Gus deals with her own issues. As readers follow Gus in her journey navigating the ins and outs of middle school and her parents’ divorce, they are introduced to people, both friends and enemies, she meets along the way. Old acquaintances turn into good friends, bad and good teachers’ classrooms are navigated, and Mahoney explores physical assault and consent through the inclusion of an older student who likes to “goose” girls’ behinds. The book never really mentions any character’s physical traits beyond their hair color and style.
VERDICT Smart, funny, and well paced, this is a solid purchase for any older elementary or middle school collection

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