If you like books about animals, you'll love all the details about the zoo and the wildlife rehabilitation centre!
Description from the publisher:
What would middle school be like if you lived in a zoo? Just ask Ana Wright, star of the hilarious, award-nominated My Life is A Zoo series that combines first crushes, friendship fails...and pack dynamics.
Surprise! Ana’s long distance BFF is finally coming back to visit. But with her purple hair and new attitude, Liv is barely the girl Ana remembers. This new Liv probably thinks a birthday party at the zoo is lame. Maybe if Ana has a super-secret sleepover instead, she’d never have to introduce Liv to Ashley, former enemy and now Ana’s best-ish friend. What could go wrong?
Creature File for Liv:
Species Name: Best Frendicus
Kingdom: New Zealand
Phylum: girl who used to be Ana Wright’s best friend, girl who used to like getting
milkshakes at Shaken, Not Stirred
Feeds on: video chats with Leilani, attention from boys
Life span: undetermined, but if things keep going the way they are, the lifespan of Ana and Liv, BFFs isn’t going to be the “forever” they thought…
How to Outfox Your Friends When You Don’t Have a Clue was written by Jess Keating and published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky in 2015.
Why you want to read this book…
It’s easy to relate to the main character, Ana, and her friendship problems and I really wanted to find out how she would solve them! People do change and it can be hard, sometimes, to let go of the way you thought they were before. The story moves along at a good pace, and is full of cool details about animals and what it’s like in the zoo as well as a wildlife rehabilitation centre. I also enjoyed the humor in the story and Ana’s animal-related perspective on the world!
“Taking a nervous breath, I put on my absolute coolest face, trying to look like those girls do in the yogurt commercials where they look all carefree and chill with their little spoons and hips shaking everywhere.”
If you’re a writer…
This is a great novel to check out if you need an example of an excellent voice. Everything is from the perspective of the main character, including her views on animals, friendships, homework and family issues, like her annoying twin brother. The dialogue is realistic and so are the problems Ana faces.
“Of course, most almost-thirteen-year-olds don’t also have to instruct their friends on how to avoid getting drooled on by a giraffe, but hey, welcome to my life.”
If you’re a teacher…
This would be a fun book to have in a classroom collection or school library. There are some important issues about friendships that arise in this story. I especially like how, in this series, the main character Ana has become friends with a girl she thought was her enemy. It’s also nice to see Ana’s mature attitude about the idea of “best friends” that emerges in this novel. I really liked the school assignment she had to do about finding five important influences in her life – it would be an interesting assignment to do with students.
“It occurred to me that not so long ago, an invitation like this from Ashley would probably have left me running for the hills. It’s funny how much our lives can changed without us noticing it.”
“Know what’s crazy? In exactly nine days, four hours, and nineteen minutes, I am going to change.”
Jess Keating is the author of several other middle grade books, including How to Outrun a Crocodile When Your Shoes are Untied (see my review here) and How to Outswim a Shark Without a Snorkel.
You might want to check out Jess Keating’s kids magazine, The Curious Creative.