Big secrets, best friends, and pitch-perfect characters drive this funny, touching story.
Shy, book-loving Sydney Frankel wants to spend her last summer before middle school lying around reading and hanging out with her best friend, Maggie. But Sydney’s mother wants her to be confident and ready for the big transition; she makes her sign up for a summer course at the community center instead. Making it worse, her mom won’t even let her take the one course she is interested in—the one about books. Maggie, on the other hand, is signed up for the reading course but would prefer to take dance. The girls hatch a plan to cleverly solve both their problems by switching identities, in the process creating a raft of mishaps, chaos, and opportunities to grow. Will the friends have what it takes to keep their deception going? It’s hard to pretend to be someone you aren’t when you are still trying to figure out who you are in the first place. Sydney must also navigate her feelings about her mother’s pregnancy, adding some urgency to her need for independence and creating the conditions for the girls’ madcap plan for coping with their summer disappointments. The book’s treatment of the complexities of tweendom are pitch perfect: the need for autonomy, the intensity of friendships, crushes, and the messy process of growing up. Main characters are White and Jewish.
A sweet, heartfelt story about friendship and family." — Kirkus Reviews
"Sydney A. Frankel loves to read. Her mother insists that she take a summer class in anything but reading in order to broaden her horizons and gain self-confidence. Sydney’s friend, Maggie, loves to dance. Her mother insists that she take a summer class in reading because she needs the practice. What are two bright, determined, creative rising sixth-graders to do? Switch identities at the community center where the summer programs are held, of course. Sydney attends Maggie’s reading class; Maggie attends the dance class in Sydney’s stead. Naturally, the plan leads to a complex comedy of errors involving other kids, teachers, and, ultimately, parents.
Complications include a new sibling for Sydney, a wise bubbe, a crush, a missing pet turtle, and a looming end-of-year program showcasing the accomplishments of all the children in the summer program, with parents and even grandparents invited. Sydney and Maggie learn some important lessons about developing new strengths and also about the values of owning up to actions, being honest, and accepting responsibility.
This amusing romp with its twisty plot and its sparkling writing teaches these lessons with a light touch and a large helping of humor. The easy-to-read chapter book format is inviting. Readers will be both entertained and enlightened." — Michal Hoschander Malen, Jewish Books Council—Website
Danielle Joseph was born in Cape Town, South Africa. The author of several young adult novels and picture books, she lives in Maryland with her husband, three kids, and a dog named Ringo. When not writing, she's swimming, listening to music, or chasing after her dog!