cover image Gossip from the Girls' Room

Gossip from the Girls' Room

Rose Cooper, Delacorte, $12.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-385-73947-4

The first book in debut author Cooper's Blogtastic! series is structured as the "Pre-Blogging Notebook" of sixth-grader Sofia Becker, a gossip collector with a hyperactive imagination. Printed on faux lined paper and decorated with Sophia's stick-figure doodles, the story follows Sofia as she gathers fodder for her anonymous blog by hiding out and eavesdropping at school ("I have very genius-like planned my schedule around being super-discreet in the girls' room, the cafeteria, and other gossip-infested places, every chance I get"). The main drama involves Sofia's obsession with popularity, her suspicion that popular Mia St. Claire is stealing her crush, and her feeble attempts at matchmaking. Readers will quickly get that it's Sofia, not Mia, who is the raging egomaniac, and Sofia learns the expected lessons (mostly) that come with making assumptions and trashing one's peers. Both in format and in its morality-challenged protagonist, this book aims for a Wimpy Kid vibe, but Sofia's cartoons add little, her tone grates, and her personality is one-note—Cooper never really gets inside the heads of her characters, Sofia included. Ages 10–up. (Jan.)