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The Sleepover: 09/27/16
The Sleepover by Jen Malone is about Meghan's first sleepover. She's twelve and she wants to show how grown up she is by agreeing to attend her friend's EPIC sleepover birthday party.
As part of the fun, the birthday girl has a hypnotist over. It all seems like harmless fun until Meghan and friends wake up the next morning. The birthday girl is missing and the house is completely trashed. Not only that, but ducklings from the school biology classroom are in the bathtub. No one remembers a thing.
I'm going to leave the ridiculousness of that plot aside for the moment. Had it only been a day-after-sleepover Memento, then it would have been a goofy read. By the plot alone it's just a tween version of Ten Things We Did without the crazy sex obsession.
But there's Meghan's status as a sheltered child of over protective parents. The big example of how sheltered she is, is her negative reaction to American Boy which is credited to Kayne West. No. It features him. It's not about him and how he disrespects women. It's sung by Estelle – the woman who has also been voicing Garnet in Steven Universe and she sings the opening to We Bare Bears. She is someone these girls would have known and would have respected.
That one big glaring detail made it obvious how out of synch the rest of the story is with modern day pre-teens. Meghan and her friends are there to the middle school caper of trying to undo everything they've done last night, without the benefit of remembering. As they are too young to have been drunk (a la The Hangover), they must have been hypnotized, even though Meghan remembers the hypnotist.
In contrast to Meghan, I offer Lane Kim from The Gilmore Girls as a believably (albeit taken to extremes sometimes) sheltered child. Her mother wants her to marry a Korean boy who is on the path to becoming a doctor and is a devout Christian. She has a very strict curfew, is limited in the things she can watch and listen to, and yet, manages to collect a huge and diverse CD collection, all of which would horrify her mother. The more a child is told not to do something the more that child will do everything in their power to do it just to spite the parents. If it's that forbidden, it must be good. Thus it's impossible to believe that for twelve years Meghan's parents have been completely successful and monitoring everything she sees, hears, and does.
Meghan's participation in the pranks under hypnotism is there as a way to set up the most ridiculous of situations. Because that's what this book is trying to be: a sitcom. But it's built on informed attributes and a shaky foundation of situational humor.