Eliza Bing Is (Not) a Big, Fat Quitter

Carmella Van Vleet. Holiday House, $16.95 (176p) ISBN 978-0-8234-2944-8
Van Vleet, the author of several nonfiction books for children, takes a strong first step into middle-grade fiction with this novel about an 11-year-old with ADHD. Eliza's parents dash her dream of taking a summer cake-decorating class with a celebrity TV pastry chef, saying that it's too expensive and that she will soon lose interest. Resolute, Eliza strikes a deal with them: if she fills (and keeps) the spot in a taekwondo class that her brother quit, she can take the cake class in the fall. Developing the concentration, memory skills, and self-confidence that the martial art demands is an enormous challenge for the easily distracted Eliza; some readers may grow tired of the detailed accounts of Eliza's taekwondo classes. But the story's other tangents—including Eliza's longing for acceptance among her peers, her pain at being snubbed by her best friend, and her resentment of her mother's preoccupation with her job—are easy to identify and sympathize with. Lively dialogue, quick-moving snippet-style chapters, and believable family interactions give this story additional kick. Ages 7–11. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/10/2014
Release date: 02/01/2014
Genre: Children's
Prebound-Glued - 176 pages - 978-0-606-40477-8
Paperback - 176 pages - 978-0-8234-3878-5
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