I was kindly sent a free copy of this book in hardback from the publisher Walker Books for a review. It’s a pre-teen YA novel, here is my review:
It’s the summer of 1975 and Raymie plans to win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition. She needs to win the competition so she can get her picture in the newspaper and then her dad, who’s run away with a dental hygienist, will come back home. But to win the competition Raymie needs to learn to twirl a baton and do some good deeds.
This is an interesting story aimed at kids around the pre-teen age. The story begins with Raymie and two other girls having a baton twirling lesson. All three of the girls, Raymie, Beverly and Louisiana have very different personalities but through the course of the book become good friends and help each other through their different problems.
I have to admit I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I had hoped. The story follows Raymie and the emotions and thoughts she has from losing her dad. She is constantly confused and conflicted and often doesn’t know what to think and this comes out well in the way it is written. The words and often short sentences and short paragraphs of thoughts make you feel Raymie’s loss and confusion but despite how well the book is written I just couldn’t get into it as much as I have with other pre-teen novels.
The novel’s setting is the 70s and it’s possibly this and the overall adventure the girls go on that made it difficult for me to relate to this book. The overall feel actually reminded me of the film My Girl. There are certain realities tackled in this book, such as Raymie’s father running away with another woman. These are done really well and although this book has a good and happy ending it isn’t a fairy tale ending, in stead a more realistic one.
There is nothing offensive in this book although some of the realistic topics discussed, including death may be too much for younger children. The end is a good and satisfying and I’m sure many pre-teens, girls especially, would enjoy this book but for me it just didn’t engage me as much as I had hoped.
Author’s website: www.katedicamillo.com
Have you ever in your life come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on you?
Two days ago, Raymie Clarke’s father ran away with a dental hygienist. But Raymie has a plan. If she can just win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father will see her picture in the paper and (maybe) come home. First however, Raymie has to do good deeds and learn how to twirl a baton. Then she must compete with the wispy but determined Louisiana Elefante and the feisty, knife-wielding Beverly Tapinski…