The Edge of Thirteen, by Nova Weetman
This is a beautifully written story about navigating change, shifting family and friendship dynamics, and finding your place in the world. It perfectly captures that awkward transitional stage between childhood and adolescence.
Clem has just started Grade 8 and everything is starting to change - her two besties are now all about boys and bras and Instagram. Clem feels underdeveloped and unsure if she is ready for boyfriends and makeup and the slippery world of social media.
My 13-year-old self completely related to Clem's story - I remember feeling as if navigating Grade 8 was like hiking through the wilderness, trying to avoid potholes and quicksand - things were shifting so quickly: it was suddenly not cool to hang with your parents, friendships became unstable and splintered without warning, and I felt so young compared to many of the other girls at my school who seemed completely confident around the boys on the bus, when all I wanted to do was bury my head in a book. It was confusing and overwhelming and I didn't feel ready for any of it. Just like Clem, I was torn between wanting to fit in and wanting to stay a child, and I have no doubt that many of today's tween readers will absolutely relate to Clem's sometimes awkward struggles to navigate change while staying true to herself.
I wish I'd read this book when I was Clem's age - she would have felt like a friend I could relate to, and this of course is why middle grade books are so important.
This story is full of heart and hope and I adored it. Five stars from me and my former awkward tween self! (Let's face it - sometimes I still feel like that awkward tween, just trying to make sense of everything! Us adults don't have it completely worked out either).
Published by UQP Books