Odd Girl In
by Jo Whittemore
2011 | 234 pages | Middle Grade
Odd Girl In is a unique tween novel about a tomboy, Alex Evins, and her twin older brothers, Parker and Nick. Fed up with their constant pranking and inability to work as a team, their single father enrolls them in Champs, a life skills course to make them more responsible. The course is taught by Ms. Success, who happens to be the stepmother of Alex's classmate, Emily. As she is forced out of her comfort zone and encouraged to interact with her Champs classmates, Alex finds herself suddenly friends with two girly girls - Emily, and the ultra-competitive Chloe - and possibly caught in the middle of their love triangle.
I'm a really big fan of the Aladdin Mix books, and have enjoyed every one I've read, especially The Secret Identity of Devon Delaney by Lauren Barnholdt, and The Melting of Maggie Bean by Tricia Rayburn. Tomboy stories don't always grab my attention, but the sense of humor in Odd Girl In won me over. The book begins with Alex leaving a "flaming #2" on a neighbor's doorstep and accidentally setting his porch furniture on fire. From there, we get to see Alex's funny interactions with her brothers, and hear her amusing and sarcastic comments about the world. I liked that this book wasn't set entirely in school, as the cover suggests, but that Alex's family life - including her mother's absence - is really a central focus of the story. I enjoy reading different sibling relationships, and I thought the evolution of Alex's relationships with her brothers was heartwarming, but in a realistic and believable way.
This is a great book to recommend to girls who celebrate being a little bit different, and to girls who know what it's like to live in a house full of boys. Tomboy or not, every girl can find comfort in the story of a girl who finds a way to successfully survive middle school.
Jo Whittemore is also the author of Front Page Face-Off, and several other books for tweens. Visit her website at http://www.jowhittemore.com.
I borrowed Odd Girl In from my local public library.