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Secret Diary
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Gr 5-9--These first two installments in this series introduce a scrappy mother/daughter duo who deal with life's problems with sarcastic humor, resiliency, and their own brand of love. Lou is a precocious 12-year-old growing up with a single mother who, with an addiction to video games and her dinner-burning antics, sometimes acts more like a child than her daughter does. (The story of Lou's missing father is explained in the second book and becomes a point of suspense for future titles.) The happily unconventional family dynamic works for them, and Lou navigates through first crushes, helping her mom get a date with their cute new neighbor, and dealing with her grumpy grandmother on vacation, all with the help of her best friend and a comfortingly lazy cat. The plot moves in scenes that are broken down, but not differentiated; each spread has its own mini-story, but they are all connected and in a general sequence. There are some mature themes, such as alcohol use by the mother, but they are dealt with in a realistic manner that fits in the context. The art is cartoony and cheerful, but also illustrates emotion as necessary. Readers, especially girls, will enjoy these strong, funny characters and the true-to-life dilemmas that they face and overcome.-Rita Meade, Brooklyn Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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