Confessions from the Principal's Kid

272p. HMH. Aug. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780544813793.
Gr 4–6—Allie West's mom is the school principal. In fifth grade, that's more of a curse than a blessing. Allie's an outsider, and after she accidentally tattles on her best friend Chloe, the whole school thinks she's a snitch and won't talk to her or invite her anywhere. Her only friends are the Afters, kids whose parents work for the school and must stay late each day. Even though the Afters plan fun activities to do after school, they don't talk to one anther during the day. So during school hours, Allie still feels like she has no one. While trying to repair her friendship with Chloe and get some real friends, Allie doesn't realize she's abandoning the ones who have always been there for her. The pace is leisurely, with a plot twist near the end. This is a sweet story line, where characters behave a little on the juvenile side for their age but sometimes speak as if they are a generation or two older ("It's actually a riveting conversation."). Despite some of the stilted dialogue, the friendship problems and solutions are authentic, and the theme about standing up to bullies is not overdone.
VERDICT Give to elementary-age readers looking for gentle realism.

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