Friday, December 4, 2015

8 Notes to a Nobody: Book One of the Bird Face Series: A Book Review

Cynthia T. Toney has an uncanny link to the minds of young teen girls--at least that's the way it seemed when I read 8 Notes to a Nobody, Book One in the Bird Face series. Her story of the life of eighth grader Wendy Robichaud made me cringe at times as I recalled similar incidents in my own adolescence. I dare anyone to say they enjoyed junior high or middle school (the terms are interchangeable nowadays) and not be a liar. I don't know anyone who claims to have been one of the cool kids, the ones who had it all together. As I grew older, I realized that all of us, whether we were the Brainiacs, the Suaves, or the Sticks (as Toney names them) or a member of the definitely-not-in-crowd, we were every bit as insecure and miserable as the next one. We simply approached our time behind those academic penitentiary bars in different ways.

Through the eyes of skinny, bird-faced, straight-legged Wendy, Toney explores the ups and downs of the kids with whom Wendy shares classes and school activities. Her mother and dad, now divorced, are grappling with their own problems (her father has a new wife and step-children and her mother yearns hopelessly for her husband and the days of being a 3-person family), which leaves Wendy smack-dab in the middle of their problems whether at home or on Sundays visiting her dad and his new family. Her best friend, Jennifer Sampson, the opposite of Wendy in almost every way, is her only saving grace. Beautiful, blessed with great parents, talented, and loyal, Wendy couldn't imagine her life without Jennifer by her side.

When the notes, eight of them in all, arrive at pivotal points in Wendy's up and down life, she's baffled, miffed, and secretly pleased that someone is paying attention to her, particularly since John-Monster has begun bullying her at every turn.

Wendy learns some hard lessons during that school year and the summer following eighth grade. Not everyone or everything is as it seems, and as she wrestles with her own insecurities, she realizes there are others who wrestle with their own. With compassion, humor, pathos, and excellent writing, Toney creates an imaginary world we've all inhabited in real life.

8 Notes to a Nobody should be required reading for all 12 to 15-year-old kids (and even older--heck, I was enthralled to the end). Happily, there's a sequel entitled 10 Steps to Girlfriend Status, that readers can anticipate. Both are available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Do yourself and that child in your life a big favor. Buy them a copy of 8 Notes to a Nobody. Neither of you will regret it.

I love to hear from readers, young and old. I can be reached at any of these:

Follow me on Twitter:  @CynthiaTToney
Cynthia is a former advertising designer, marketing director, and interior decorator who holds a BA in art education with a minor in history. While employed by a large daily newspaper, she rewrote some ad copy without permission and got into trouble for it. At that point, she knew she was destined to become an author.

When she’s not cooking Cajun or Italian food, Cynthia writes historical and contemporary teen fiction containing elements of mystery and romance. Cynthia loves animal-shelter dogs and the friendly South from Georgia to Texas, where she resides with her husband and several canines.

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