Thursday, July 10, 2008

No Cream Puffs


Day, Karen. 2008. No Cream Puffs.

This isn't what we usually do. If we have time after lunch, we shoot baskets with the boys in the gym. Today we're lined up in front of the mirror in the girls' bathroom. I stand to the side and twist my mood ring around and around my finger. My mess of curly blond hair is a disaster compared to the new feathered style everyone else has. "This is plushy pink." Casey Cunningham pulls a tube of lip gloss out of her purse and opens it. The sweet smell of cotton candy fills the bathroom. She rolls it onto her lips. "It's new."
She rolls it onto Gina's lips and then reaches for Sara, who stands next to me, holding her new purse with both hands. I'm next.
Casey snaps the cap on the lip gloss and puts it back in her purse. I feel the tops of my ears burn; she left me out on purpose. I glance at Sara, but she won't look at me.
"You smell like a circus," I blurt. Their lips sparkle under the lights. Could my lips look like that too?
"I'm sorry, Madison." Casey looks at me, eyes wide. "I didn't think baseball players wore lip gloss."
(1-2)

Set in the summer of 1980, No Cream Puffs is the story of Madison Mitchell, a twelve-year-old baseball player who hates to be called a tom boy. So what if she likes to play sports? Does that make her a boy not a girl? NO. She's a girl alright. Her developing breasts (which she tries to disguise whenever she plays ball) and a crush on a teammate prove that.

No Cream Puffs is a sports story. No doubt about it. There's baseball games, baseball practice, and plenty of baseball talk. But it is more than that. Much more. It's the story of a girl who feels uncomfortable with herself, her body, her life. A girl who doesn't feel comfortable with her identity. She doesn't want to be solely defined as "the girl" (the only girl) who plays in a baseball league of boys. But as the girl she does get attention at all the games especially by the media who want to turn her into something she's not. It's a story about family. A story about friendship. A story about growing up. Here we see the first glimpses of a young girl changing into a young woman. Her first crushes. This age is often (or should I say always) awkward and painful. Madison's experiences are authentically so. I loved Madison's voice. And I loved her story.

I really loved this book. Karen Day knows how to do real, to do authentic. Everything just feels right about this one.

http://www.klday.com/index.html
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

5 comments:

Bobbi 6:52 PM  

Nice review!

Anonymous,  12:11 PM  

awesome! i love this book too!!??

Anonymous,  10:42 AM  

I just finished the book and I thought it was amazing. I loved it and the review. :D

olivia,  11:39 AM  

i am reading the book right now and its super good so far!!!!!!!

Anonymous,  4:06 PM  

I love No Cream Puffs!I hope Karen Day makes a sequel! How cool would that be?!?!

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
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4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
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