Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Ava and Pip

Author: Carol Weston
Genre: Children's
Type: Kindle e-book ARC
Source: NetGalley
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jaberwocky
First Published: March 2014
First Line: "Dear New Diary, You won't believe what I just found out."

Book Description from GoodReadsAn endearing tween story about friendship, family, identity, and inspiration

Outgoing Ava loves her older sister, Pip, but can't understand why Pip is so reserved and never seems to make friends with others. When Ava uses her writing talents to help her sister overcome her shyness, both girls learn the impact their words and stories can have on the world around them.

Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to Sourcebooks Jaberwocky and NetGalley for providing me with a complimentary e-book copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

My Review: I have to admit that I very rarely read (let alone review) children's literature.  I'm not talking about Harry Potter or Percy Jackson but books for younger kids -- tweens and younger.  That age group just hasn't been on my radar as a book reviewer.  But as I try to get my almost eleven year old daughter into reading I thought reading and reviewing a book that looked like it would be her 'cuppa tea' would be a great way to encourage her.  The fact that Missy Moo is an introvert like her dear old ma and one of the main characters, Pip, is also an introvert was icing on the proverbial cake.

Going into this book I was assuming it was going to focus on the younger tween reader, grades 3-5, because the cover is really cute and oh-so-pink.  Ava (the main character and narrator) feels like a subdued Ramona (from Ramona and Beezus fame) which is also why I thought it would be for pre-teen girls.  But it also deals with Pip and the social issues she deals with as an introverted teen so in the end I'm not quite sure what age group this is aimed at. 

While this was a sweet book I have to admit that I wasn't a fan of the much used word games that Ava seemed to play throughout the book, specifically palindromes.  Ava and Pip's quirky parents love word games and their daughters love to look for palindromes in their day to day lives.  It's a cute idea but after more than a handful of palindrome examples I had had enough.  Perhaps they just felt out of place because I cannot imagine my daughter willingly throwing palindromes back and forth with her brothers or friends.  The story seemed to be peppered with them and, honestly I think it took the focus off the plot too much.

The relationships between the characters, specifically Pip and Ava as well as Ava and her mother were touching and felt authentic.  It was great to see how the sisters (and their friend) band together to help Pip with her awkwardness but the introvert in me (especially after recently reading and reviewing a book specifically on introversion) didn't like the fact that Pip's introversion was something negative within Pip that she had to change in order to be successful socially.

Ava and Pip, while being a light read, also deals with many childhood issues including bullying, social groups and even feeling invisible within your own family.  I liked how the author focuses on one lesser known form of bullying.  I'm not even sure if bullying is the right term because it's not the 'in your face' kind of bullying, whether it be physical or verbal, but the bullying that happens by not thinking through our words or actions and hurting someone in the process.  I think that focusing on this kind of behaviour will help kids to think more of what they say and instill some empathy for others.

Overall, this was a cute book that focuses on the relationship between sisters and mothers.  It has a good overall moral message and I'd suggest that this book would be a good fit for older tween girls.

My Rating: 3/5 stars

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