CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 7 . . . . November 24, 2006
When you're the youngest of three sisters, life can be tough, especially when they are prettier and more athletic than you are. It's also difficult to go on a family camping holiday - again! Your dad insists on joining lots of activities but isn't very good at anything, while your mom continues to use your family nickname, "Baby." These are the situations which confront Rica, and readers watch her efforts to change things and make her life more exciting this summer.
Younger teen girls will enjoy this quick and easy read which has elements of both romance and adventure. The main character is realistic and faces typical teen situations with her family and with the boys she meets while camping. Readers will easily relate to her.
Elements of the novel's plot are predictable in many cases yet Penny uses the story as a vehicle to probe the difficulties of being a modern adolescent. There are tough choices to be made on very adult topics such as drinking and sexuality. Life is "not just proms and parties" as the series title indicates. Penny understands that her fictional characters - just like real teens - do not always make the best choices. She also underlines that everything can be a learning experience, even mistakes.
Young adults will enjoy this as entertainment and a good story, but the underlying themes could open the door to more serious discussions with friends, parents or teachers.
Ann Ketcheson, who resides in Ottawa, ON, is a former teacher-librarian and teacher of high school English and French.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.