"It will be awkward at first, but it gets better. You find your people and you make your tribe and you protect each other. From the wolves."
"That's middle school?" I asked her.
She gave me a sad kind of smile. "That's just life," she said. (13)
Posted is the story of DeeDee, Bench, Wolf, and Frost, the four-friend tribe who have found each other amongst the chaos and awkward that is middle school, specifically Branton Middle School. After an incident that led to the banning of cell-phones, sticky notes became the mode of communication first among their friends, but soon the whole school caught the trend. Notes appeared on their lockers, on doorways, in the bathrooms - and what started off as just notes became vicious.
As if that wasn't enough, a new arrival, Rose, shifted the balance the group previously had. A girl? In their group? And one as unique as Rose at that?
Middle school is a minefield. Deciding who to like and not like and who to follow and who to ignore completely. Worrying that you're going to trip while walking down the hall and sprawl all over the floor like a beached starfish. Wondering if you should raise your hand when the teacher asks the hard question and risk exposing your nerdiness for the sake of a few bonus points. Taking every sideways glance as a message, trying to crack the code. Every day you're bound to do something that gets you noticed by the wrong people. Every day you're bound to step somewhere you shouldn't. (99)
This story is a sweet one about belonging - what you do to fit in, stand up, and who your true friends really are in the end.
“We were back-to-school shopping - gathering the instruments of torture that my teachers would use to slowly bore me to death over the next nine months. I was nervous... It wasn’t that the classes would get harder, or that I would get lost in the labyrinth of halls, or that I might forget my combination and look derpy just standing there, aimlessly spinning the lock, though these thoughts crossed my mind more than twice. No. What scared me most was lunch.” (10-11)
A great one to add to your upper elementary or middle school classroom library! Also a great one to read as an educator because goodness does this put you right back in the angst of middle-school consciousness!