Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Chocolate-Covered Baloney: Confessions of April Grace

I don't know about you, but I miss the 80s.  I miss the simple nature of not having everything at my fingertips.  Today, with the internet, cellphones, texting, emails, Google searches, nothing is left to the imagination.  I covet the days of waiting excitedly for the phone to ring and having to guess who the caller was on the other end before hearing their voice.  I miss using my imagination to figure something out or waiting to visit the library in order to rummage through the encyclopedias for information.  

One day I was writing letters to friends or family in another state, and the next, I was facebook messaging them.  What happened?  Everything changed, and it seemed to happen overnight.

I'm not a huge fan of change, and neither is April Grace Reilly, a sixth-grader from Cedar Ridge.  
April Grace's life turned upside down in such a short time, and it all started with a simple warning in church.   It was almost as if the sermon Pastor Ross gave that Sunday morning in 1987 was meant specifically for April Grace and her family.  He simply said, "Things are gonna change." (pg 1)  And boy, oh boy, things surely did change!

Simple things occurred at first.  Isabel, the Reilly's uppity neighbor from California became April Grace's gym teacher.  Isabel wasn't just any ole gym teacher; she was teaching them dance the Proper Way.  

Then, April Grace's sister, Myra Sue starts acting very sneaky.  For a dumb fourteen year old, Myra Sue was acting more dumb than usual according to April Grace.  She became suddenly interested in the mail and homework, which April Grace highly suspected was just a cover-up for something else.  After all, Myra Sue never did her homework and was too accustomed to making Cs to start studying now.  Even more peculiar, Myra Sue became overly fascinated in the phone--way more fascinated than her average teenage, soap opera-loving self.

Still trying to figure out what Myra Sue is hiding, another stick is thrown in the road when a long-lost relative suddenly appears.  April Grace has reached her limit of change, but the boulder won't stop.  What was Myra Sue hiding?  Who is this relative, and Why is this person in her home, her life, expecting to be part of the family when they haven't been before?

Problems of change come in all sizes, but the biggest comes towards the end.  I won't spoil it for you (you have to read it for yourself), but the Reilly family as a whole learns to listen and forgive right smack in the middle of a crisis.  Most of all, April Grace learns to treasure her sister, Myra Sue, and that sometimes, being a big-fat tattletale is the right thing to do.

I have to say, I really enjoyed this book.  Katherine McCrite's Chocolate-Covered Baloney: Confessions of April Grace took me back to the time of phone cords being stretched as far as they'd reach for privacy, solving problems without the internet, and entertainment of days long ago.  This book is perfect for a young girl of today who needs a different perspective (after all the 80s are back in style).  It is also for us adults who as a child of the 80s can relive those moments all over again.  

Change isn't easy.  I can say I wish some things were still the same as they were in the 80s...except BIG HAIR.  That is one thing that definitely needed to change!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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