Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Planet Girl

illus. by J.P. Coovert. 208p. (Charlie Joe Jackson: Bk. 5). ebook available. Roaring Brook. Aug. 2015. Tr $13.99. ISBN 9781596438415.
Gr 4–6—Charlie Joe Jackson is back for his fifth appearance in this series. He still doesn't like to read books, but he has a bigger problem now; everyone in middle school has a girlfriend except him. Charlie needs some advice and his first stop is the media center where the good-natured librarian, Mrs. Reedy, offers a classic, but somewhat dated title that not only doesn't get him a girlfriend, but instead gets Charlie into more difficulties. Caught kissing his friend Jake's girlfriend by his longtime friend Katie, who he really likes, Charlie's "indiscretions" become the talk of the school. And every time Charlie attempts to right things, he only gets into more trouble…with the school principal, with the gym teacher, and his friends. Even the summer camp reunion weekend is ruined when Charlie and his camp mate get stuck in the New York Public Library archives and he delivers a reinterpreted love sonnet to Katie (Charlie Joe style) in a failed attempt to win her affection. But our romance-seeking protagonist eventually figures things out in a satisfying conclusion that will please readers. The story is funny and engaging with each chapter ending on a mild cliff-hanger that will entice reluctant readers to keep going. Interspersed with the story are romantic tips from other characters who offer further advice on how to survive "planet girl."
VERDICT Fans of the series will thoroughly this enjoy this installment.

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