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Eighth Grade is Making Me Sick by Jennifer L. Holm, illustrated by Elicia Castaldi

August 29th, 2012 (08:43 pm)
thirsty

Current Mood: thirsty
Current Song: Leverage score music by Joseph LoDuca

The new school year has arrived, and with it comes the fantastic book Eighth Grade is Making Me Sick: Ginny Davis's Year in Stuff by Jennifer L. Holm, illustrated by Elicia Castaldi. This follow-up to 2007's Middle School is Worse Than Meatloaf does not disappoint. Once I started reading it, I didn't stop, turning pages all through breakfast until I reached the final page.

Ginny's life is as busy as ever. Her eighth grade year starts with her family - that includes her mother, her stepfather, her two brothers, and their dog - moving into a new house. Her school schedule includes first period P.E. (yuck!), dissections in science class (assisted by her friend Brian), and an enthusiastic Language Arts teacher who assigns original poetry prompts every Friday. Ginny does well in some classes and struggles in others, tries out for the cheerleading squad, and tries to stomach her stepfather's uber-healthy dinners. She has hobbies - reading, watching movies, and drawing - and likes making to-do lists. She also really, really dislikes how her family's holiday portrait turned out. As things keep changing around her, one thing's for sure: this is a school year Ginny will never forget.

The book is a series of letters, photographs, scribbles, and sketches, chronicling Ginny's correspondence with friends and family members. There are notes stuck on the fridge at home and on her locker at school, postcards and emails from her Grampa Joe, IMs with her best friend, Becky Soo, and text messages to and from family members.

There's more to Eighth Grade is Making Me Sick than meets the eye. Not only will you see something new every time you look at a page - Castaldi's attention to detail is wonderful! - but the story itself is layered. Ginny and her family have their fair share of ups and downs, some serious, some humorous, always handled delicately and realistically. Even the title has a great payoff.

I'd love to see what happens to Ginny next. I hope the authors follow Ginny through high school. This series will appeal to reluctant readers just as much as it will appeal voracious readers. This is some really, really good Stuff.

My favorite images appear on page 21, page 44, and page 24, just to name a few. Want to see what's in the pictures? You'll have to check out the book!

Check out this behind-the-scenes video of Elicia Castaldi hard at work on the book.

Related Posts at Bildungsroman
Poetry Friday: A Big Waste by Jennifer L. Holm (from Eighth Grade is Making Me Sick)
Review: Middle School is Worse Than Meatloaf by Jennifer L. Holm, Elicia Castaldi, and Matthew Holm
Interview: Jennifer L. Holm