For those of us who grew up reading the works of Beverly Cleary and Marissa Moss, Judith McLaughlin’s Dear Diary, E.P. Thompson Here is a callback to our roots.
Emily Paul Thompson is anxious to chronicle her sixth grade experience in the diary her mother gave her. It starts like any other year: the dreamy boy, the best friend, the physical changes (or lack thereof). Then, things start going wrong. Emily’s best friend ditches her. She’s paired with the class pariah for a project. And somebody has started stealing money and supplies from the school. While Emily finds closure in writing her secrets down, she knows that, sooner or later, her words will have to become actions.
McLaughlin has struck the perfect middle grade voice–two parts innocent charm, one part confusion and discovery. She introduces thought-provoking subject matter in a Romona Quimby voice, which holds the potential for discussion among children and adults alike. Reading Dear Diary is one of life’s simple pleasures, a reminder of the joys and pitfalls of junior high–and that people are not always who you expected them to be.
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