Review: Eighth Grade Is Making Me Sick by Jennifer L. Holm

eighth grade is making me sick

Eighth Grade Is Making Me Sick: Ginny Davis’s Year in Stuff by Jennifer L. Holm, illustrated by Elicia Castaldi

Ginny starts out 8th grade with big plans that she lists out.  They include trying out for cheer, being able to bike to school, sketching every day, and falling in love.  Ginny and her family have just moved to a newer, bigger house, but she’s able to stay at the same school.  Lots of things are going right for Ginny: she likes her science partner, she makes the cheer team, and she just might be falling in love too!  Unfortunately though, everything is not perfect.  Things get tough when Ginny’s mother gets pregnant and her step father loses his job.  As things start to cascade, Ginny starts to get sick.   Nothing is going like Ginny hoped it would.

This book is entirely told in objects like notes, texts, lists and letters.  Readers will love looking through the debris of Ginny’s life.  It’s almost like searching through someone’s stuff to find a storyline inside.  Castaldi’s art is a great mix of actual items and art, done in a popping mixed-media style.  The colors are pure teen-girl yet not stereotypical and I loved the inclusion of all of the books that Ginny was reading that readers can seek out too.

Holm has created a book that reads quickly and lightly, but also explores some of the deeper issues facing tweens today.  There is sickness, a blended family, and job loss to name a few.  Even friendships are explored in a deeper way than one would expect in a book this colorful and fun.

Reluctant readers and tweens who love to read will both enjoy this book which is honest and bright.  Appropriate for ages 9-12.

Reviewed from copy received from Random House.