cover image Bernice Buttman, Model Citizen

Bernice Buttman, Model Citizen

Niki Lenz. Random House, $16.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-5247-7041-9

Fifth grader Bernice is a bully and proud of it. She lives in a trailer in Kansas City with her wild but protective older brothers and her mother, who takes lunch money from Bernice for a new tattoo and dreams of being a star. Bernice has her own dreams: to become a stuntwoman and attend a summer stunt camp, and to move beyond her reputation and hot temper to make a true friend. She gets a chance to wipe the slate clean when her mom heads to Hollywood, leaving Bernice in the care of her sister, a Sister, at the abbey where she lives with a small group of quirky nuns—one of them “speaks only in children’s book quotes.” Bernice struggles to change with the help of the nuns, a new friend, and horseback riding and stunt lessons, but when she sees the chance to get money for camp by creating a fake fund-raiser for the abbey, she must decide who she really is. Bernice’s sometimes harsh home conditions and how they contribute to her unkind ways are sensitively portrayed and well balanced with humor and Bernice’s spirited narration. Ages 8–12. [em]Agent: Kate Testerman, KT Literary. (Mar.) [/em]