Fans of unique individuals such as Junie B. Jones will be delighted with Cilla Lee-Jenkins. As a second-grader, Cilla is more mature than Junie, and as a future author extraordinaire, she has a wonderful vocabulary. Cilla enjoys being an only child and is not AT ALL excited about a new sister on the way. She decides that the best thing to do is finish writing her bestseller and become a famous author before the baby's arrival.
Being a writer is such a big part of Cilla's life, that it comes through loud and clear in her best-seller manuscript. Even though her father urged her to give kindergarten a chance, she "despaired. As writers do." And when she plays with her dollhouse, she creates "an epic drama that had Suspense and five main characters, three love interests, ten children, two imaginary dogs, and (her) teddy bear as an all-powerful dragon." How many nine-year-olds have that sort of imagination and grasp of what creates a successful book? Yet, even with all her intelligence, she still has problems knowing the right thing to say to Colleen when she's worried over her grandmother, or how to find a way to get her own grandparents to be closer. After all, she's just a child, not yet a best-selling author.
Susan has created a completely believable character. Everything about Cilla is so easy to accept. I personally identify with Cilla's problems with her slowly growing hair when she was very young. She resents a cousin who has bows in her pigtails and explains, "When you're bald and your mom is trying to tape a bow to your head because it won't stay on, then and only then will you understand the agony of this terrible injustice." Having suffered through taped-on bows myself, I agree with Cilla completely. And I also agree with her that "your best friend knows that there's more to you than the words you accidentally say, or don't say. And you know the same thing about her."
I received an advance copy from the publisher for review purposes.