cover image New in Town (Curlfriends #1)

New in Town (Curlfriends #1)

Sharee Miller. Little, Brown Ink, $24.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-316-59147-8; $12.99 paper ISBN 978-0-316-59145-4

After moving to the town where her Air Force servicemember father grew up, 12-year-old artist Charlie Harper starts attending Hill Valley Middle School three weeks into the semester. Her first day turns out to be an embarrassing mess, during which she’s accidentally doused in water and she loses her contacts. Her day is saved, however, when Nola—a cheerful student with an affinity for styling hair—offers to fix up Charlie’s saturated ’do in the bathroom. Soon after, Nola is showing Charlie the fastest ways to get to class, and at lunchtime a nervous Charlie asks to sit at her table. Thrifty and outspoken fashionista Ella and anime enthusiast Cara welcome Charlie into their circle. But believing she must curb her interests to fit into the already established friend group, Charlie pretends to be someone she’s not and quickly loses touch with herself. A playful pastel palette adds energetic verve to this bouncy narrative of being and accepting one’s true self. With empathy, charm, and a seemingly endless supply of good cheer, Miller (Michelle’s Garden) crafts a stirring tale that encourages kindness and honesty in pursuit of friendship. Characters are portrayed with varying skin tones. Ages 8–12. (Oct.)