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.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews