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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Kid Konnection: Love is a Four-Letter Word by Vikki VanSickle

Love is a Four-Letter Word by Vikki VanSickle
Scholastic Canada
ISBN: 978-1443107877
Published Sept 1, 2011
Paperback, 208 pages

My daughter and I were so excited to read this follow-up book to VanSickle's Words That Start with B. My daughter said she liked this one as much as the first and I liked it even better. It was funny, down-to-earth and tackled topics any tween could embrace: friendships, first crushes, and parental illness.

Clarissa is a smart spunky girl who continues to experience more changes in her life. Her mom has survived cancer but is still not out of the loop. What's more, she starts dating her personal trainer and this is all new to Clarissa whose mom never dated before. Her best friend Benji passes the audition for a musical and spends more time with his new theatre buddies. Clarissa's friend Mattie is a romantic and dreams of falling in love, whereas none of this has ever crossed Clarissa's mind until Michael, her new friend seems to want more than friendship.

First-off, I love the way VanSickle handles the topic of love among thirteen year-olds. Clarissa is not boy crazy, yet she is in the process of discovering about love especially since her mom has fallen in love, which is a big deal for a single child in a single-parent family. As a mom I appreciated that VanSickle handled this topic well, unlike the plethora of middle-grade books that have thirteen year-olds dating as if they are responsible adults.

VanSickle's writing and dialogue is great, pulling us in from the very start so that it was so hard to stop reading once we started. My daughter and I loved reading this book together. There were things she could relate to and things I could relate to. Once again, the cast of characters was great. Seeing things from Clarissa's point of view was priceless, and VanSickle captured the voice of an opinionated and outspoken girl right on. My daughter and I thought the ending was perfect, too.

We highly recommend this book for mother and daughter book clubs. It can be read as a stand alone but we recommend reading the first book as well. VanSickle has made it on out list of favorite authors and we eagerly await her next novel!

Note: This book is rated C = clean read.

Reviewed by Laura

Disclosure: Thanks to Nikole Kritikos from Scholastic for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

Every Saturday, Booking Mama hosts a feature called Kid Konnection—a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, visit Booking Mama.

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