Thursday, June 23, 2011

Trauma Queen

Trauma Queen
by Barbara Dee

Every tween girl knows what it's like to have a mom who can be a little embarrasing at times. But for Marigold, it goes way beyond embarrassing. Marigold's single mom is a performance artist, meaning she stages dramatic, wacky performances to express her personal beliefs. Things like wrapping herself in saran wrap for a piece on plastic surgery, or inviting people over in the middle of the night to videotape her sleeping. In fact, Marigold's mom's performances caused such a ruckus in their last town that the two of them, along with Marigold's little sister, have just had to move. Now Marigold's starting a new school, missing her best friend like crazy, and trying to fit in all over again in the shadow of a mom who's famous for all the wrong reasons. As if that's not bad enough, Marigold's mom takes on a new job--teaching drama at Marigold's school! Now all the kids know instantly just how weird her mom is, and Marigold's worried she'll never be able to have a friendship that can survive her mother. (description from

This book made me smile. This book made me laugh. This book made me cringe. This book threw me right back into the turmoil of my earliest teen years. This book wrapped me in a giant hug, reminded me that it all gets better, and threw me back into my adult life. In short...I thought this was a GREAT tween book!

Barbara Dee just has that pitch-perfect thirteen year old girl voice. I mean, Marigold was sooo...well what I was as a thirteen year old. She really has no idea yet who she really is or wants to be, but she does not what feels wrong, and she's willing to stand up anytime she really has to to protect her friends or family. Though her emotions may be all out of whack, Marigold has just enough confidence in herself to not let the worst things get to her fact, I kind of wish I had been more like Marigold in this respect when I was thirteen!

I loved how this book deals with so many of her different relationships. Having a little sister who is a little quirky, but still utterly lovable. A grandmother who just makes her feel warm and gooey, just like a chocolate chip cookie. A boyfriend...oooh...a little boyfriend who holds hands with her on the way home from school and sneaks a chaste little kiss. *squee!* (My remembered thirteen year old heart was beating like crazy when I read that scene!!) A best friend who she loses touch with when Marigold's family moves away. New great friends at her new school. Most of all, though, this book really focuses on the relationship that Marigold has with her mother.

It's so funny...mothers and daughters really do have a special bond. It's strong, it's protective, it's intuitive, it's anyone from the outside. However, mothers and daughters are the people who can shake or hurt each other the most easily because we value each other so much....and teen years are ROUGH. Though Marigold and her mother love each other to pieces, at this point in Marigold's life, as so many things are changing, as she is feeling the most vulnerable, she and her mother seem to be at a total disconnect.

They have fights, they each embarrass the other, but eventually it all works out. This is because their bond is truly unbreakable. When I was reading all of their scenes, all I could think of was my mom. I think we went through something very similar when I was the same age...though she never covered herself in electronic bugs or anything!

I truly cannot wait to put this book into the hands of some of our tween readers. I think that so many eleven, twelve, thirteen (and yes, even thirty year olds!) can relate to this book and will really, truly enjoy reading it! I, personally, am looking forward to reading another one of Barbara Dee's books that we just got in, This is Me From Now On, very soon!

Full disclosure: Review copy received from author

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