Friday, January 22, 2016

10 Steps to Girlfriend Status, Book Two of the Bird Face Series: A Book Review

A few weeks ago, I reviewed Cynthia T. Toney's 8 Notes to a Nobody, the first book in her Bird Face series, published by Write Integrity Press. Today I'm reviewing the second book called 10 Steps to Girlfriend Status. Anyone who read the earlier review knows how impressed I was with the characters and storyline, as well as Toney's uncanny ability to climb into the head of a middle-schooler to accurately regale readers with the angst, humor, giddiness, trauma, and thrills of growing older.

That talent led Toney to write a second book with the same character, Wendy Robichaud, now a 9th grader and in a different school. Being low on the totem pole and surrounded by more different faces than familiar ones, Wendy embarks on new relationships and a brand new family. Her mother, once crushed by the divorce from Wendy's father, has met and married a new man, the father of Alice Rend, a friend from 8th grade. When her mom and Mr. Rend marry, Wendy's simple life as the youngest in a two-person family morphs into the life of a blended family with a new stepdad, stepsister (Alice), and little stepbrother, six-year-old Adam. She's excited, nervous, and more than a little sad. What will life be like with an instant family? What if she and Alice don't get along anymore now that they're sisters and share a household, not to mention parents? Will little Adam, sweet as he is, get on her nerves? And last, but certainly not least, what on earth will she call Mr. Rend?

As if all that isn't enough to rattle her cage, Wendy's love life has taken an upward turn and she's in a relationship of some kind (friend, buddy, soon-to-be girlfriend?) with hunk and star baseball player David Griffin; her dear friend and older neighbor, Mrs. Villaturo, is acting strangely and claiming to see (and converse with) her dead husband, Gus; and when Mrs. V's son comes to check up on his mom, he brings his own son, Sam--another drop-dead gorgeous boy Wendy's age who sports beautiful eyes and just happens to be deaf. Add to all that a Robichaud family scandal from a couple of generations earlier that Mrs. V has alluded to and you've got more than just a little tension and excitement in Wendy's life.

Do a young person a big favor and give them a copy of both 8 Notes to a Nobody and 10 Steps to Girlfriend Status. These books might not spare them the agonies of middle and high school years, but they'll sure as heck give them someone to relate to--and I can think of nobody better to share those growing-up years with than Wendy Robichaud.
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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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