cover image The 47 People You’ll Meet in Middle School

The 47 People You’ll Meet in Middle School

Kristin Mahoney. Knopf, $16.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-5247-6513-2

On the last day of school before Thanksgiving break, sixth-grader Augusta begins a letter to her younger sister, Louisa, whose curiosity about middle school life usually receives an “it’s fine, whatever.” The missive tells Lou what to expect (“Lockers are not as exciting as everyone thinks they’ll be”), and subsequent chapters detail the people one meets in middle school via Gus’s experience during her first months. (Entries include “the huggers,” “the scary teacher,” and “the friend you don’t recognize because she turned into a whole new person over the summer.”) Gus’s best friend is loving life at a different school, but Gus struggles to find pals who truly get her, deal with a group of bullying girls, and adjust to her parents’ divorce. The narrative reveals Gus to be a sympathetically flawed character whose growth is realistically wrought as she seeks to find herself and her village, and secondary characters are fully fleshed out as well. Mahoney authentically captures the universal indignities of middle school, the challenges of self-discovery, and the joy of making true friends. Ages 8–12. [em](Aug.) [/em]