Book: Girls Acting Catty

Girls Acting Catty
Leslie Margolis
2009 (Bloomsbury)

In this sequel to “Boys are Dogs” Annabelle has managed to figure out how to survive in a school with boys, but now realizes that girl politics can be a lot more complicated than she expected. She ends up caught in the middle between her group of friends from the first book and the popular girls, who are starting to invite her into their group. Neither group likes the other, but Annabelle doesn’t understand why and ends up caught in the middle by virtue of belonging to both groups. At the same time, her mother is getting married and she’s having to deal with some big changes of her own, like wearing a bra for the first time.

“Mean girls” and “clique behavior” are big buzzwords in the middle school world right now, and so it’s not too surprising that there have been quite a few fictional takes on these themes for girls in that age range recently (the “Clique” series and the movie “Mean Girls” are probably the most famous recent examples, but there have been lots more). The problem with fictionalizing these themes is that it’s hard to do without either making the catty behavior seem even more desirable or simplifying the situation so that there is one mean clique and a protagonist (perhaps with friends) who is totally innocent of any meanness. “Girls Acting Catty” manages to avoid these pitfalls and create both an engaging story and one where no one comes out looking entirely rosy.

The very fact that none of the girls are blameless in this story, not even Annabelle herself, is one of it’s biggest strengths. Annabelle comes to the realization about what is going on and how everyone is participating in making it worse on her own, no adult tells her what’s happening and none of the girls gives her any assistance free from heavy prejudices. Annabelle also realizes that they need to hold the right people accountable for their actions. For example, when a boy is pressured into breaking up with her friend, the friends at first blame the girl who encouraged him, but Annabelle realizes that it was the boy who did the breaking up and so at least some of the blame must be his.

This is a wonderfully engaging story with a lively and likable main character. Some of the themes and the fact that the kid characters are allowed to solve their problems without adult interference, even though there are loving adults all around, makes this book remind me of those by Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary. I enjoyed reading this book a great deal, even though I have not read the first book about Annabelle. I think I may try to get ahold of it now, though, since I did enjoy this one so much! I would definitely recommend this book. It is well worth the read and a lot of fun.

- Publisher’s Description

- Leslie Margolis’s Website

- Buy it from Amazon

Post a Comment