Author Pamela Cali Bankston takes young readers into south Louisiana, a world she knows well, in “Frizzy Frieda’s Gymtastrophe,” illustrated by Lexi-Shae Brooks. The entrancing tween novel introduces a young lady in a dilemma as she tries to fit in with the “in” group at school.
Claire Marcheaux’s south Louisiana home offers many benefits, such as great food and long seasons of warm weather for sports. It also delivers a humid climate, which gives Claire fits with her hair and results in her nickname, Frizzy Frieda. A teasing brother who perpetuates the moniker doesn’t help.
Her friends are trying out for the cheerleading squad and encourage Claire to join them. Claire’s heart draws her toward the school newspaper. Which path should she choose? Can she make her mark as one of the cool group, or will she stand on the outer fringe of school society for another year? If those weren’t tough enough questions to make her life rough, she’s also attracted to one of the star athletes in the school. Claire has to make choices, but will she find the strength of will to be herself?
Bankston does a beautiful job of taking readers into Claire’s life and problems without trivializing any aspect of her situation. Her characters have depth and readers will find themselves rooting for the girl as she works through her issues. Bankston keeps it real without making the situation ugly.
The book would make a great gift for youngsters from second grade through middle school. Although the protagonist is female, the book works for either gender. The sports aspects will appeal to many youngsters, in addition to the “making choices” story line, a situation so many of them face.
Another plus: the adults in the book aren’t made out to be idiotic losers, as is often the case these days. They care about the kids and try to do what’s best for them. Thank you, Pamela Cali Bankston.
Note to Hollywood: take a look at this book as a possible children’s film. The storyline and characters beg to become a movie.
Frizzy Frieda’s Gymtastrophe by Pamela Cali Bankston
Illustrated by Lexi-Shae Brooks
Published by Wee Creek Press
Disclaimer: This review is based on a review copy provided by the author or publisher with no restrictions as to content. All opinions are my own.
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