Credible characterizations, on-the-nail humor, and well-observed family dynamics add up to another hit from Newbery Honor author Martin (A Corner of the Universe). In a freewheeling, off-the-cuff narrative, nine-year-old Pearl candidly assesses how she measures up to her seemingly perfect older sister, Lexie, who has multiple friends (including a boyfriend), a stack of awards, and her own key to their Manhattan apartment. Pearl, meanwhile, has a first-grader for a best friend, and their cat, Bitey, for a "boyfriend." The rapport between the often bickering sisters and their conflicting emotions about the other—jealousy and admiration on Pearl's part, annoyance and affection on Lexie's—are entirely convincing. When their grandfather is injured and moves in with them, Pearl is thrilled to accommodate him ("I smiled sweetly. ‘I would be happy to help out by moving into Lexie's room' "), and Pearl's close relationship with her grandfather grows increasingly poignant as she becomes aware that he has dementia. It's not hard to picture Pearl and Lexie as successors to Ramona and Beezus as Martin creates a novel as entertaining as it is true. Ages 9–12. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 06/20/2011 Release date: 09/01/2011 Genre: Children's
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