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Click Here: To Find Out How I Survived Seventh Grade    by Denise Vega order for
Click Here
by Denise Vega
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2005 (2005)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Erin Swift is about to start 7th grade at Molly Brown Middle School, and she's panicking because she and her best friend (from kindergarten), Jilly, are in different tracks. Erin has depended on Jilly to run her life all through elementary. What's she going to do?

Well, it helps her to put together a personal website (her mom designs them for a living, and Erin has learned through assisting her). There, she confides her feelings about Jilly, her big feet, her crush on new classmate' Cute Boy' (aka Mark), and her longstanding dislike of Serena Worthington, who has tormented her through elementary school and whom she punches on the first day of middle school after Serena calls her Jilly's puppet. This also gets big brother Chris on Erin's case, as he fancies Serena's elder sister.

Life ain't easy at this age, and Erin lays it all out on her private web pages. But she also begins to come out of her shell and grow in confidence. She makes a new friend, Rosie, and gets involved in an after-school activity in which she shines, the Intranet Club (she also signs up for the school play, in which Jilly is the lead - Erin ends up playing a corncob). All goes well with Mark until he meets, and falls for, Jilly, making Erin miserable. She writes about that too.

Then comes disaster, when Erin's website is mistakenly loaded on the new Intranet for the entire school to see. Not only is she humiliated but her frankness hurts her peers. She wants to transfer to another school, but 'Evil Torture Mom' makes her stick it out. After a great deal of angst, Erin discovers amazing reserves of courage. She takes impressive action to resolve matters, and deserves the admiration that she wins for it.

I enjoyed Click Here: To Find Out How I Survived Seventh Grade for its excellent portrayal of the self-conscious vulnerability of the early teens, and of a girl growing out of a friend's shadow into her own strength of character. Now I wonder, what will Erin have to cope with in grade eight?

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