The last year of elementary school is big for every kid. In this novel, equal parts funny and crushing, utterly honest and perfect for boys and girls alike, Christine Gouda faces change at every turn, starting with her own nickname—Tink—which just doesn't fit anymore. Readers will relate to this strong female protagonist whose voice rings with profound authenticity and absolute novelty, and her year's cringingly painful trials in normalcy—uncomfortable Halloween costumes, premature sleepover parties, crushed crushes, and changing friendships. Throughout all this, Tink learns, what you call yourself, and how you do it, has a lot to do with who you are. This book marks beloved author Karen Romano Young's masterful return to children's literature: a heartbreakingly honest account of what it means to be between girl and woman, elementary and middle school, inside and out—and just what you name that in-between self.
Believably exploring body issues, crushes, popularity, and friendship, Young (Doodlebug) captures the confused and charming voice of a 12-year-old girl who isn't sure about much, including what she wants to be called. Sixth-grader Christine "Tink" Gouda's school year is not going well. She feels too tall, too physically mature, and just too different from the cute, petite girls and crush-worthy boys who make up what Tink refers to as "the circle." Tink's best friend Jackie has decided that this year, Tink will be known as "Chris" because it sounds more grown up, but Tink isn't sure that this new name fits her any better than her old one. Uncertainty fills each page as Tink begins a budding friendship with class clown Matthew "Bushwhack" Alva and watches Jackie try on different personas to fit in. Clever banter and some made-up words, including the "almost rude" "bushwah," help Romano's characters jump off the page in a thoughtful and realistic look at what it means to be on the precipice of adolescence. Ages 8 12.