Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Trauma Queen (MG)

Trauma Queen. Barbara Dee. 2011. Simon & Schuster. 272 pages.

I am standing outside homeroom in yellow flannel monkey pajamas.
Everyone else is dressed normally: jeans, track pants, sweaters, whatever.
Apparently because today, Monday, February 3, is not Pajama Day at Crampton Middle School. Also apparently I am the only one who is celebrating Pajama Day, because I am the only one whose mother told her it was Pajama Day. 

Marigold doesn't always love her mom. You see, Marigold's mom is a performance artist. She does crazy, crazy, embarrassing things in front of people...on purpose. Sometimes Marigold wishes her Mom could really stick to one performance: normal, sane, ordinary mother of two. But that's a role she rarely does.

Trauma Queen is about new beginnings. Marigold's family is starting over--again. The last town, well, it didn't end so well. On the positive side, Marigold made a friend--a really good friend--a girl named Emma. And things seemed to be going well until Emma's mom met Marigold's mom. Then it got UGLY, UGLY, SUPER-UGLY. Now Emma isn't allowed to speak with all. So it's just as well, I suppose, that they did start over in a new town. But some things Marigold can't really forget.

One of the things that I LOVED about Trauma Queen were the characters. I thought they were well-developed. I loved how we get to know Marigold's family: her mom, her sister, Kennedy, her Gram. I especially loved to see the conversations between Mari and her Gram. I did. I loved how we get to know Marigold's classmates. Those that like Marigold (Layla, Ethan, Brody, etc.). And those that don't (Jada). WE get to see the tensions in her class. And it's so well done! It felt very authentic. I thought the author did a great job with showing not telling.

It was easy to love Marigold. It was easy to sympathize with her. But it was also easy--at least for me--to see the Mom's strengths. I couldn't not like the Mom. I couldn't. And when she started working with some of Marigold's classmates in an after school program, well, I admired her all the more. Was she perfect? No. Of course not. But she was not "the enemy" out to ruin her daughter's life. Seeing Gram, Mom, and Marigold together, well, it felt right. This novel has substance and depth.

I would definitely recommend Trauma Queen. I've also read This is Me From Now On.

My favorite quote:

But how do you know you're seeing things through your own eyes? Maybe you think you are, but really, you're just collecting other people's points of view. Maybe you're seeing the world through their eyes, and you don't even know it. (211)

© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


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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.)

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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.

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