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A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success. More

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Author: Meg Haston

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Publisher: Poppy, an Imprint of Little, Brown, and Company, 2011

Material: hard cover

Summary: With her weekly advice show "Simon Says," the lead in Guys and Dolls, and friends Molly, Liv, and Vanessa, Kacey Simon rules Marquette Middle School. When an eye infection forces her to wear glasses, and a skating accident results in braces, Kacey's reign is in serious jeopardy. Her new lisp not only costs her the lead, but her friends. Enter Paige Greene, a former friend from elementary school. Despite the past, Paige, who's running for class president, strikes a deal to help Kacey get her social status back. Is it really possible to recover a friendship? This is a middle grade novel about school, friendship, trust, and honesty.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, independent reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 9 to 13; read yourself: 10 to 14

Interest Level: 9 to 13

Reading Level: 4.4

Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.

Adult Reader Reaction: The first few chapters took me back. Kacey is a stereotypical mean girl and was so overpowering she was a turnoff. I actually jumped to the end to see if Stacey's character "improve" and then came back to finish reading. The narrative and middle school drama are fairly spot on and many readers will see this as "realistic." Unfortunately, that probably means they will find Stacey and Paige's "strategy" as acceptable practice. Stacey got what she deserved and then manipulated people and events to reach her personal goals. That, to me, undermines her actions that *suggest* that she is a changed person.

Pros: Lots of action will keep readers wondering what's going to happen next for Kacey and her classmates.

Cons: Kacey and friends are very strong personalities who find it entertaining to belittle other people. Their behavior may be off-putting to some readers.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow. Readers who like realistic fiction and enjoy stories where characters learn life lessons will speed through How to Rock Braces and Glasses.


Educational Themes: There are several scenes / events that can open conversation about healthy relationships, choices, consequences, and acceptable behavior. Stacey's position that she is "helping" people and being "honest" is helpful for talking about perception v. reality and egotism.

Notes: The Reading Tub® picked up an Advance Review Copy (ARC) of this book at Book Expo America. There are no expectations of review associated with this book.

Literary Categories: Fiction - Family, Music, Coming of Age, Life Lessons, middle grade series

Date(s) Reviewed: May 2016

Other Reviews: See Critics Reviews at; and reviews and reader feedback at


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