Tuesday, January 19, 2016

I, Emma Freke, by Elizabeth Atkinson

At nearly six feet tall, Emma literally stands out from the others at the age of twelve.  Combined with her awkward name, she's had terrible trouble fitting in.  And when her Mom tells her she doesn't have to go to school anymore, she's overjoyed.  But Emma's mother has a habit of messing things up and Emma soon finds herself in a ton of trouble.  This is the way things usually go for her!

When the summer arrives, Emma receives an invitation to attend a Freke family reunion.  She's stunned.  She's never met her father and knows nothing about his family.  And from what she can tell, the Frekes are totally organized and responsible people (the complete opposite of her mother!).  So, with a bit of adventure, she heads to Wisconsin for a weekend with her father's folks -- seeking to find out more about the rest of her family.

A sweet tween read with some predictable messages about family and finding oneself.  Along the way, Emma has some pretty fun adventures.  But up until the end, she also experiences a lot of neglect.  I realize that adult absentmindedness is a popular trope in tween reads, but it always seems a bit mean to leave small children in a lurch and fending for themselves.  That Emma is able to persevere shows her fierce independence, but seems unnecessary to telling a good story.  That twitch aside, the book is full of many lively characters and made for a brisk read.

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