Thursday, June 18, 2009

Review of Best Friends and Drama Queens by Meg Cabot

Cabot, Meg. Best Friends and Drama Queens. (Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls, #3). Scholastic, 2009.

In the third installment of this light and fun series, Allie has fully settled in to life in her new school, and so it comes as a shock when a new girl arrives in her 4th grade classroom and thoroughly upsets the social order.

Although it is something of a relief at first not to be the New Girl, Allie is unsettled by Cheyenne and her high-heeled boots and exotic Canadian origins. Not only that, but Cheyenne disses Allie and her friends the very first day by telling them their favorite game of pretend is babyish. This, after they were just trying to be nice to her! And Four Queens is the best game ever!

Cheyenne’s subsequent take-over of all the 4th grade girls (except for Allie and her clique) and her revolutionary introduction of the Kissing Game (in which a hapless boy is chased by all the girls and then kissed by Cheyenne) soon has the whole class in an uproar – and it even shakes up Allie’s tight-knit group. In fact, this story isn’t so much about mean girls as it is about loyalty and standing up to peer pressure. This would have been a bit more thought-provoking if Cheyenne hadn’t been so absolutely awful in every way – the reader won’t ever have a moment’s empathy or admiration for her. Also, Allie’s coterie of girls blends together rather in this installment – none of them gets to shine as individuals except maybe the brave Charlotte. Nevertheless, this is light and fun affirmation that it’s okay to want to be a kid, not a teenager, in 4th grade – and that schoolyard bullies may be intense and powerful, but they don’t stand a chance next to loving and involved parents and small but strong groups of friends.

Recommended for kids who love friendship and school stories, as well as for fans of the previous Allie Finkle books. Grades 2 – 4.

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