Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dear Toni by Cyndi Sand-Eveland: Book Review

Dear Toni
by Cyndi Sand-Eveland
Tundra Books
ISBN: 978-1-77049-249-3
136 Pages (Paperback)
Suggested Ages: 8-12
Silver Birch Express Winner for 2010
Hackmatack Award Winner

Description: When sixth-grader Gene Tucks moves south, she dreads being the new kid at school and almost everything else about her life as a “nobody.” But what she dreads most is the hundred-day journal-writing assignment her teacher has given the class. His brilliant idea is to have the journals locked in the town museum’s vault for forty years so that future grade-sixers can read them.


At first, Gene has trouble writing to someone who isn’t even born yet. But little by little, Dear Nobody becomes Dear Somebody, who evolves into Dear Toni. And bit by bit, Toni, a good listener, becomes a best friend to whom Gene tells everything. And, there’s lots to tell. Gene’s family is in transition to say the least. Her dad is looking for work, they are moving — again, her brother is the bane of her existence, and, more than anything else in the world, Gene wants something she can’t have — a dog. Toni is the first to learn that Gene is moving to a rent-free empty apartment at the back of a gas station, so her dad can manage it. And wonder of wonders, the owner’s dog needs looking after. Not just any dog; a St. Bernard who happens to have three pups. Through Gene’s one hundred entries the whole story unwinds and in the end, just like Toni does forty years later, we have come to know one of the freshest, funniest characters to grace the pages of a book in a very long time.  Decorated with doodles by the author, Dear Toni has the look and feel of a journal, but the heart of a special 12 year old.

The Good Stuff
  • A truly outstanding absolutely delightfully honest and real book
  • The 1st chapter grabs your attention right away - especially for the 8-10 set
  • Loved the design of the book with the lined paper look and the doodles all over the pages
  • Gene has a fantastically biting sarcastic wit
  • The book really feels like it was written by a 12 year old -- and no that is not a dig -- just that it will really resonate with the pre-tweens and their feelings and thoughts are portrayed honestly
  • Love the doodles
  • The ending is beautiful!!!!!
  • Stop reading my review and buy the book already - crap now I have to adjust my Top 5 of 2010  middle school list

The Not so Good Stuff
  • It was about a girl and dammit Jake would love this if it was written from a boy instead -- sexist little bastard that he is LOL. 

Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Mr. Mackenzie has promised that he won't make us do any corrections because he's not going to read our journals. Yeah, right. He's just saying that now. Teachers always make you do corrections."

"I think it should be against the law for parents to make kids pee at the side of the road.  The Fly thinks it's no big deal, but he has no idea how it is for a girl!!"

Why do adults always take so long to make up their minds about good things when they are so quick to decide about things they don't want?"

What I Learned
  • It really sucks to be the new kid
  • 12 year old girls really are bitchy - thank god I have 2 boys ; 0
  • Must really carefully listen to my boys when they talk to me and make sure they know I understand what they are going through

Who should/shouldn't read
  • A must have for middle school libraries and public libraries
  • Passing this one on to my niece because I think she will love it in a year or two
  • Great for anyone who has been the new girl/boy in town
  • The perfect  book for 8-11 year old girls -- especially if they aren't in the popular crowd -- it's ok kids, the popular crowd really fall apart in their 30's and us geeks are the happy ones
5 Dewey's

I received this from LibraryThing and wasn't required to do a review, but I really wanted to bring your attention to it

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