New York: Dutton Children's Books
Winnie has finally gotten the hang of junior high - gaining two fabulous BFFs and a perfect (OK, sometimes perfect) boyfriend in the process. And with graduation just around the corner, the countdown to high school has begun. Not that Winnie is obsessing about it, since she has a whole bunch of things to check of her To-Do-Before-High-School list. But things, like owning her heart's desire, helping the world, and - oh, yeah - growing up. With so much to do and only a summer to do it, one thing is for sure: eleven, twelve, and thirteen were big, but fourteen is going to be epic! (Description from Amazon).
This is a wonderful book and a perfect little summer read. The book begins with Winnie turning 14. She's on her way to high school soon; she's got two great friends and a sweet boyfriend. What more could a girl want? To grow up for one.
Winnie's voice is honest and true. She sounds and acts just like a fourteen-year-old while trying to figure out what it means to be a grown up--or at least a little more grown up. The dynamic between Winnie and her friends, Cinnamon and Dinah is also well done. Cinnamon is the loud and slightly pushy one. Dinah is the quiet one, and Winnie fits somewhere in between, though she's not perfect either. They have spats and confrontations but actually think about the problems and get them worked out. I don't remember many girls doing that when I was in a school, but it's a nice addition. Girls don't have to be, er, witches?
Also, the relationship with Lars seems a bit of a stretch. I don't remember anyone in middle school (or even high school for that matter) dating for more than three months, but the lesson that comes along with the relationship is a good one. There is some joking and mention of sexual things in this book, but it's not graphic. It's an honest depiction of how middle school girls joke and discuss sex and boys.
This is the fourth book in the Winnie Years Series and events from earlier novels are mentioned (especially Amanda, the ex-bff). The accompanying explanations caught me up perfectly so I didn't feel like I was missing out. Still, I might just have to read the others.
Disclosure: I borrowed this ebook from my local library.