Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Truth About Twinkie Pie

The Truth About Twinkie Pie by Kat Yeh is a delightful read about relationships, secrets, and starting over. It is as light and fluffy as the cover implies.

GiGi (Galileo Galilei) is starting a new private school after she and her sister DiDi (Delta Dawn) move to start over. DiDi, who dropped out of school to cut hair at a young age, is insists that the future will be better for her smart sister. GiGi spends most of her time studying and working for her future. GiGi is determined to start over entirely at her new school, insisting that her new nickname will be Leia. At this school she is going to have friends and spend her free time doing a few things other than studying. On her first day GiGi is knocked over (literally) by cute popular boy, Trip, and it looks like all her dreams are going to come true. But first she has to deal with Mace, the girl shooting daggers at her every day during lunch, and DiDi's relentless need to organize her life and push it in the direction she thinks is best.

GiGi is an independent, strong-willed, often pushy girl. She is quite good at the snarky comeback and mostly unafraid to allow her opinion to be known. She and Mace, the pretty popular girl who seems unhappy about her presence at her much table, have some snappy conversations. GiGi manages comebacks most middle school girls can only dream of managing in such situations. Sometimes she doesn't know when to hold them back. I liked that GiGi was a good balance of strengths and weaknesses. She's a good friend to those who she wants to consider her friend. She can be downright mean to those she doesn't. Even when Mace shows her vulnerable side and GiGi realizes there is far more to her than she imagined, GiGi is not giving an inch. Their relationship remains fraught until the very end of the book, and I really liked the realistic tone of this. Mace does a lot to help GiGi, but its because she is really a giving and sympathetic person and not because she and GiGi have become friends.

The other characters in the book are not as well developed. I felt that most of the interactions between the middle schoolers were realistic, but their characters just don't stand out individually. I've forgotten most of their names. Trip, the cute popular boy GiGi develops a crush on, is incredibly flat. He's nice. But that's about it. DiDi is one of those quirky southern stereotypes that causes me to grit my teeth. (GiGi is as well but to a lesser extent). DiDi had me rolling my eyes on every page she was on.

The book has a pretty major twist that I saw coming from the beginning. MG readers are probably going to have their socks knocked off by it though. I feel like that twist was wrapped up a little too fast and prettily at the end. This may be because I knew it was coming and had plenty of time to ruminate on all the consequences and complications.

I do enjoy Yeh's writing and the way she pulls readers into a story. I am looking forward to seeing what her next book is like.

In the end I had mixed feelings about the book overall, but it is an enjoyable read and a decent recommendation for kids who love contemporary school stories with themes of changing friendships and complicated life situations.

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