Monday, January 11, 2010

Freshly-Brewed Monday Book Recommendation #2: Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell In Love

I highlighted a boy book last week, so this time I'm picking an absolutely all-girl pick!
Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell in Love by Lauren Tarshis

How do I love this book? Let me count the ways!

Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell in Love  is the phenomenal sequel to Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree. I loved the first one so much I didn't think this one could get inside my heart the same way but boy was I wrong!

I first heard of Lauren Tarshis at a SCBWI conference when she won a Golden Kite Award for Emma-Jean Fell out of a Tree. I read it a few months later and hoped Lauren's next book would be a sequel because I could not get enough of Emma-Jean. I adore her.

Emma-Jean's voice is pitch perfect. If you are a writer and you are struggling to understand what "voice" is, Emma-Jean will teach you. Lauren Tarshis has a serious gift. I would've loved to pal around with Emma-Jean during those crazy awkward years. She is smart, observant, logical and somewhat removed from her school experience, and yet she is a devoted and loyal friend.

Colleen, Emma-Jean's bestie, (who is also in the first book) is much more emotional and invested in the day to day drama in the middle school hallways than Emma-Jean. In anticipating the upcoming dance, Colleen "kept thinking of Noah's ark--about all the pigs and pandas and gorillas and ladybugs and how they'd all marched two by two, two by two, two by two onto the ark. Except for the unicorn, who couldn't find a boy who liked her, so she was left behind. To drown in the flood. Colleen was the unicorn."

That is why Colleen is beyond thrilled when she gets an anonymous note in her locker from a boy who likes her. Immediately she begins feeling what she describes as "Colleen-er" Now that she knows there's at least one boy out there that likes her, she can relax and let her personality show through.

Colleen enlists Emma-Jean to help her figure out who left the note. Emma-Jean, who is fascinated by her classmates who all seem to have caught "Spring Fever", is up for the task. It is all complicated by the fact that Emma-Jean soon discovers she has a little "Spring Fever" of her own.

Emma-Jean's unflinching logical outlook on life had me from the start. And Colleen's shy insecurity is spot-on. This book is equal parts mystery/friendship and how to navigate the halls of middle school. You won't want it to end and you will miss your two friends once you've finished the book! I hope you love it like I do!


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