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August 27, 2019 • Cee • Lists

When three very different girls find a mysterious invitation to a lavish mansion, the promise of adventure and mischief is too intriguing to pass up.

Ofelia Castillo (a budding journalist), Aster Douglas (a bookish foodie), and Cat Garcia (a rule-abiding birdwatcher) meet the kid behind the invite, Lane DiSanti, and it isn’t love at first sight. But they soon bond over a shared mission to get the Floras, their local Scouts, to ditch an outdated tradition. In their quest for justice, independence, and an unforgettable summer, the girls form their own troop and find something they didn’t know they needed: sisterhood.

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Friendships have its ups and downs. It’s no secret that friendships can be hard to make and maintain, especially when you’re not great at socializing.

When I was a kid (and even now as an adult), I couldn’t work out how to become friends like it was a difficult math problem. How do you make people see that you’re a great person to be friends with? I still don’t know the answer, but when you meet these people, it just works.

For the Strange Birds blog tour, I wanted to recommend some fantastic Middle Grade books about friendships that’ll make you think and reflect on your own friendship history.

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August 29, 2017 • Cee • Reviews

The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Perez • August 22, 2017 • Viking Books for Young Readers (Penguin)
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On Day One, twelve-year-old Malu (Maria Luisa, if you want to annoy her) inadvertently upsets Posada Middle School’s queen bee, violates the school’s dress code with her punk rock look, and disappoints her college-professor mom in the process. Her dad, who now lives a thousand miles away, says things will get better as long as she remembers the first rule of punk: be yourself.

The real Malu loves rock music, skateboarding, zines, and Soyrizo (hold the cilantro, please). And when she assembles a group of like-minded misfits at school and starts a band, Malu finally begins to feel at home. She’ll do anything to preserve this, which includes standing up to an anti-punk school administration to fight for her right to express herself!

Black and white illustrations and collage art throughout make The First Rule of Punk a perfect pick for fans of books like Roller Girl and online magazines like Rookie.

myreview

I received this book for free from Penguin for review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

First sentence: “Dad says punk rock only comes in one volume: loud.”

The First Rule of Punk hits every note with a perfectly pitched scream. Malu—don’t call her Maria Luisa—is into two things: punk music + zines. When her mother moves them to Florida, she finds herself doing things she never thought she would back home: making friends in her new home and getting in touch with her Mexican heritage.

It’s certainly not any book your Abuela has encountered.

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