When Emily receives a pack of note cards labeled "Flashcards of My Life" as an unexpected birthday present, she uses them as inspiration to journal and to untangle her knotted life. Includes illustrations by the author.
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Charise Mericle Harper is the author of numerous books for children, including Imaginative Inventions and There Was a Bold Lady Who Wanted a Star, with Little, Brown. Her illustrations have appeared in the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, Outside Magazine, Village Voice, Rolling Stone, San Francisco Magazine, and the San Francisco Examiner, among others. This is her first novel.
Grade 5-7–Like many teens, Emily has tons of friends, thinks her parents are totally uncool, and wishes for a boyfriend. For her birthday, Aunt Chester sends her a set of blank cards called Flashcards of My Life. Each card has a label like Friends, Kiss, Identity–different topics to spark some writing. Emily starts on the cards and, in the process, readers learn about her. Her best 24-hour friend, Sandra, doesn't like her school friends, Sarah W. and Sarah J., leaving Emily stuck in the middle. The girls all have crushes on different boys and there's the constant swirl of rumors of who likes whom. The story is full of early teen angst–being uncomfortable in one's body, not sure why parents act like they do, crying over the smallest things. The style and language are aimed at younger readers; however, some of the topics make the story a better fit for older readers. For example, the girls think their gym teacher is a lesbian because of her roommate's picture on her desk. The font appears to be handwritten, and numerous doodles, charts, and diagrams adorn the pages. An entertaining but hardly earth-shattering look at junior high life.–Diana Pierce, Running Brushy Middle School, Cedar Park, TX
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