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Frazzled: Everyday Disasters and Impending Doom: 12/22/16

Frazzled by Booki Vivat

The connection of a reader to a book is a personal thing. I wish I could say I was immune from that — as a librarian and a long time book blogger. I'm not. I don't think anyone is.

Frazzled: Everyday Disasters and Impending Doom by Booki Vivat is one of those books I felt an instant connection with. It's not because I'm a middle child (there are only two of us and I'm the eldest by seven years). It's not because I'm in middle school (I went to a junior high about thirty years ago).

Instead, I"m coming to this book as parent (not of a middle child, I only have two). My youngest loves to draw. She loves to draw comics and I've been trying to encourage her to start a web comic. So far her drawings are for herself, us, and her two best friends. Her drawings look a lot like Book Vivat's — that sort of enthusiastic, almost chibi-style.

Abbie Wu, the protagonist, writes about her misadventures in middle school. Since she doesn't have a hobby or a plan for her future, she doesn't pick an elective. So she's given study hall at the edge of campus in a strange building with a strange teacher. She thinks she's with misfits and ne're-do-wells.

The cafeteria — where she's been promised better food than she ever had in elementary school. Except it's only for the eighth graders! She has to stand in another line with most of the school and the bullies are getting the best of the food from that line, leaving her and her friends with yucky stuff.

Abbie finds her place in middle school by trying to tackle the cafeteria food problem. Her first and second attempts don't go as planned but it closes with her finding a new calling — running for class president.

Here's another point where a personal connection makes a plot twist all the more on point. My oldest just finished middle school. The last thing he did was get his school to add a snack period and lunch break on half days. Before that, kids on Wednesdays didn't get any chance to eat until school let out at 1PM. He wrote up a proposal that included a revised class schedule. The teachers and staff who were also hungry by the end of the day liked the idea and his schedule only added an extra half hour to the day, just enough so that everyone could get lunch and snack.

So I have great hope for Abbie. She's going to revolutionize her middle school and leave it a better place. If we get to follow along with her with a second book, I'll be there!

Five stars

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