Smaller Sister by Maggie Edkins Willis

Published by Roaring Brook Press

Summary:  Lucy and her older sister Olivia have always been close, but when they switch schools right before fifth and sixth grades, things start to unravel.  Olivia develops an eating disorder, and Lucy struggles to try to understand the unhappy person her sister has become and the difficult changes her whole family is going through.  Just as Olivia is starting to recover, the family moves from Indiana to Massachusetts, a transition that proves difficult for both of the girls.  As Lucy faces peer pressure and mean girls, she begins to doubt herself and to adopt some of Olivia’s techniques for losing weight.  Fortunately, Olivia and their parents have learned a lot in the last couple of years and are able to intervene.  Two weeks at a theater camp between sixth and seventh grade give Lucy a huge boost in confidence, helping her to start seventh grade on a much more positive note.  Includes an author’s note telling of her experiences that inspired this book.  320 pages; grades 4-7.

Pros:  Another middle school girl graphic memoir that will undoubtedly be popular with the many readers who love this genre.  The topics of eating disorders and girls’ struggles with body image are addressed sensitively and in an appropriate manner for upper elementary and middle school readers.  I’d love to see how seventh grade goes for Lucy, so I’m hoping for a sequel.

Cons:  The parents, who were sensitive in other ways, seemed kind of oblivious about how tough it was for the girls to change schools twice in two years.

July 13, 2022 at 05:25PM Janet Dawson