It’s no secret that middle school can be some of the toughest years of many kids’ lives. But the secrets that some middle schoolers hide can shock everyone around them – including the kids they see every day.
That’s how life is for Wendy Robichaud, the almost-14-year-old girl who tells the story of Bird Face by Cynthia T. Toney. Unlike some of the kids around her, Wendy doesn’t care much about popularity or being part of the groups she calls the Sticks, Suaves or Brainiacs (I’ll bet you can figure out who’s who by those names — and we’ve all been to school with them). She has her BFF Jennifer by her side, so that’s all that matters.
Then eighth grade begins and things start to change. Jennifer’s acting different and Wendy’s convinced she’s keeping secrets. Brainiac bully John “Monster” seems to find even more joy in torturing Wendy than he has in the past. And someone has started leaving anonymous sticky notes for Wendy all over the school.
“Nice face,” the first note says, which sends Wendy into a cycle of paranoia about her looks and how she needs to improve herself. But some of the notes that come later are more encouraging: “Only words.” “Good luck.” “Speak up.” And Wendy needs all the luck and courage she can get since John’s latest nickname for her is Bird Face and he seems to taunt her wherever she goes.
It’s all enough to make a girl want to run away and hide because life is quickly turning into one big mess.
The way Wendy deals with things is true life for an eighth grade girl – sometimes clumsy, sometimes quirky, sometimes more grown up than you’d think she’s ready for. And along the way, Wendy learns some lessons we all need to remember – things aren’t always what they seem and aren’t always better just because someone behaves a certain way. Sometimes the people we think we know the most about are the ones with the most surprising secrets. And the ones we barely pay attention to might be our biggest sideline supporters.
Bird Face is perfect for middle school or early high school kids – they’ll be sure to find themselves somewhere in the crowd of kids surrounding Wendy. It touches on a few mature/more serious issues like anorexia and suicide, but does it in a tasteful way. Wendy’s just trying to figure out life, just like we all are. She’s a good one to spend some time with and maybe learn a few things from while she navigates her crazy world. And with school starting back in just a few weeks, now would be the perfect time to read it.
Learn more about Bird Face at her blog (http://birdfacewendy.wordpress.com/) or website (www.cynthiattoney.com). You can also connect on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/birdfacewendy?ref=hl) or Twitter (https://twitter.com/CynthiaTToney).