Just Pretend

Tori Sharp. Little, Brown, $24.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-316-53889-3
Led by an endearing and resilient heroine, Sharp’s memoir makes a strong case for imagination as a middle school survival tactic. A freckled white seventh grader living in suburban Allentown, N.J., Tori doesn’t have control over much in her life: her divorced parents, who are loving but distracted, argue about child support; her angry older brother bullies her; and she’s not allowed to stay home by herself, even while her mom takes her sister to dance class. Luckily, Tori is relentlessly creative, leading art projects, creative writing endeavors, and role-playing games among her willing group of friends. At the top of the friend list is bestie Taylor, who has struggles of her own, including a strict stepmother who is uncomfortable with the girls’ writing about goddesses. Sharp intersperses the autobiography with scenes from the fantasy novel Tori is writing, about an outcast fairy who befriends a lonely brown-skinned runaway named Penny. The memoir suffers from an uneven plot—late in the story, Tori confronts her father about not calling for months, though this is the first time readers hear of it. But backed by lithe illustrations peppered with late-’90s details, Sharp creates a portrait of a resourceful young artist using her passion to forge connections. Ages 8–12. Agent: Brent Taylor, Triada US. (May)
Reviewed on : 03/25/2021
Release date: 05/01/2021
Genre: Children's
Book - 978-0-316-53887-9
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-316-53885-5
Book - 978-0-316-53886-2
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