Review by Booklist Review
Navigating middle school on day one is daunting for any incoming sixth-grader, but Kyle Constantini is off to a particularly terrible start. She is in a different section than her two best friends; gets lost and is almost late for her first class; punches a class bully for nearly stepping on her new friend Marcy's hearing aids; is assigned by the principal to participate in the school's NAVS (Negotiating Actions and Values for Solutions) team; and rides Marcy's bus rather than her own. Of course, she gets in trouble with her parents for these faux pas, and as new dilemmas crop up, she can't seem to explain her way out of them no matter how honorable or naive her intentions have been. Resolutions are reached, and with each, Kyle matures. Sixth-grade female angst rings true in this debut novel. Salom has Kyle tell the story and uses fantastic dialogue to let this coming-of-age story shine. Middle-grade readers will relate Kyle's missteps and the frequently overwhelming environment of middle school.--Petty, J. B. Copyright 2016 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
In this empowering coming-of-age story, Kyle Constantini begins sixth grade secure in her friendships with pals Sheroo and Brooke, but complications quickly arise. Boy-crazy Sheroo develops a crush on a new student named Reed, who clicks with Kyle, and Brooke is acting mysterious about medical tests she needs. After Kyle impulsively hits classmate Ino for picking on a student with hearing aids, she is assigned to participate in NAVS, a competitive problem-solving group. Kyle winds up loving the group, but her parents pull their already-grounded daughter from NAVS after discovering that one of its meetings looks more like an unsupervised pool party. Kyle navigates these and other problems with help from wise teachers and insight from friends, eventually coming to better understand herself and the people around her. Debut author Salom gives Kyle a punchy narrative voice whose quirks can feel forced at times ("Crap'n Crunch. Now, my heart is a bongo at a luau"). But the novel offers some intriguing ideas about connections that transcend verbal communication, which should leave readers with plenty to think about. Ages 10-14. Agent: John Cusick, Folio Literary Management. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 4-7-Kyle is nervous about middle school, where, for the first time, she won't be in homeroom with her best friend, Sheroo. She is relieved to meet new friendly faces on her first morning of sixth grade, but her optimism is dashed when she lands in the principal's office for fighting a bully. Kyle's principal recognizes her "crusading spirit," however, and recommends a nontraditional consequence: membership in the school's creative problem-solving club, called NAVS. Kyle is intrigued by the problem their team is assigned, and she feels proud of her positive contributions. Unfortunately, outside of NAVS, Kyle's decision-making isn't quite as positive; she begins to develop a pattern of hiding things from her parents. She is heartbroken when her mother forbids her to continue with NAVS. Even worse, Sheroo is mad at her over a boy. Luckily, Kyle has developed some new healthy friendships with peers who help her to atone for her mistakes and fix her relationships with her parents and her best friend. Told with wit and charm, Salom's debut is sure to make readers think and laugh. While some characters are a bit one-note (such as Kyle's mother, who is too preachy and comes across as villainous), the story is relatable and appealing overall. Bonus: the novel includes a positive and authentic portrayal of a character who is hearing-impaired. VERDICT In the same vein as R.J. Palacio's breakout hit Wonder, this charming middle grade debut will strike a chord with readers who enjoy realistic fiction with depth.-Liz Overberg, Zionsville Community High School, IN © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.