Grow Up, Tahlia Wilkins! by Karina Evans

Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Summary:  Tahlia has an eventful 48 hours when she gets her period on the last day of seventh grade and has to be ready for Noah’s big pool party the next day.  Her mom’s out of town so it’s up to her best friend Lily to help Tahlia navigate the stormy waters of puberty.  Together the two plot ways to get their hands on some tampons, then try to figure out how they work.  When they end up at dinner with Noah’s family the night before the party, Lily saves Tahlia from an embarrassing stain issue by “accidentally” spilling a virgin strawberry margarita all over her.  The pool party goes surprisingly well…until Lily divulges a devastating secret of her own that makes Tahlia see how selfishly wrapped up in her own problems she’s been.  The last chapter fast forwards to the first day of eighth grade when a more mature Tahlia reaches out to a new girl on her first day of school.  293 pages; grades 4-7.

Pros:  This felt very true-to-life in a Judy Blume-esque way.  Tahlia’s total focus on herself and the enormity of her problems was spot on for a middle school kid, and the friendship and puberty issues rang true and were very funny as well.

Cons:  After all the build-up to the party that “will make or break my entire summer”, the summer sounded pretty ho-hum.

May 23, 2022 at 04:08PM Janet Dawson