10 Steps to Girlfriend Status

Cynthia T. Toney. Write Integrity, $13.99 paper (202p) ISBN 978-1-938092-64-0
This second book in Toney’s Bird Face series, after 8 Notes to a Nobody, is a thinly woven tale that combines a family ancestral mystery, a degenerative disease, and romance. Louisiana native Wendy Robichaud is about to become part of a blended family with her mother, her close friend Alice, and Alice’s father and brother. Now a high school freshman, Wendy is also beginning to attract boys, including popular David Griffin. Meanwhile, her next door neighbor and surrogate grandmother, Mrs. Villaturo, is showing signs of dementia, which alarms Wendy. While looking through a photo album, Wendy questions Mrs. V. about a picture, which sparks Wendy’s curiosity about her own family history, and a quest for answers begins. Unfortunately, Wendy comes off as an odd combination of empathetic, presumptuous, and unintentionally harsh (“His voice sounded almost normal. Or maybe I was getting used to it,” she says of Mrs. V.’s grandson Sam, who is deaf). The interconnected relationships between characters get to be overly convenient, sometimes overlapping to the point of confusion. Although Toney’s writing is solid, the book winds up short on substance. Ages 12–up. (BookLife)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2017
Release date: 09/01/2015
Genre: Children's
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