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Book Review: Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau

Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau is a coming of age novel taking place in Baltimore, Maryland. During the 1970's, fourteen year old Mary Jane is caught in the middle of her family's conservative ideals and the progressive ideals of the Cone family where she is a summer nanny. Mary Jane is a sheltered teen who enjoys cooking with her mother, listening to Broadway Show Tunes, and singing in the church choir. On the first day of work, she is shocked at the mess in the Cone's home and introduces them to home cooked meals and keeping the house clean. In return, Mary Jane gets a front row seat to sex, drugs, and rock & roll. This novel was the selected for the book club I belong to. Again, this is a novel that I likely wouldn't have chosen to read on my own, but I was glad I did. Mary Jane is the first novel I've read by Jessica Anya Blau, and I was impressed with her storytelling.  Touching on race, class, and stereotypes, along with drugs and infidelity, it reminded

Book Review: Jessica and the Brat Attack (Sweet Valley Twins, #29) Created By Francine Pascal

jessica and the brat attack sweet valley twins 29 francine pascal
Jessica and the Brat Attack (Sweet Valley Twins, #29) created by Francine Pascal is about Jessica Wakefield volunteering to work one of the booths at the middle school's sixth grade fair. When she doesn't get assigned to the booth she had hoped for, Jessica steals Elizabeth's baby-sitting job and volunteers her twin to work the booth at the fair.

The lesson kids can take away from this story is karma. Because Jessica was so underhanded in how she handled her situation, Jessica ended up in a worse scenario, and her classmates and sister ended up getting back at her. She should have just sucked it up and made the best of her original commitment. However, Jessica did end up learning that baby-sitting wasn't for her.

I absolutely loved the Sweet Valley Twins book series in elementary and middle school. And, I am in the process of rereading my way through my childhood. Although I know I read Jessica and the Brat Attack in middle school, I had no recollection of the story line when I reread it, so it was like I was reading it for the first time. It had a great lesson in the story, and that is what I love about the Sweet Valley Twins book series . . . the life lessons it gives kids without being overly in your face about. One can hope that if kids are still reading these books that they are learning from them and implementing the lessons in their own life.

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