Gownley's charming series about Amelia and her everyday struggles with school, family, and friends returns in his first new graphic novel with Amelia grown up a bit. She's now worried about that classic concern: how to be popular, or whether it's even worth it. Amelia, now more of a young woman, less of a child, and Rhonda (of the crazy hair) put up with snubs from the popular blondes and try out for cheerleading in an attempt to jump a few rungs on the social ladder. The book takes time to get going, with a lot of hinting at what's going to happen and mixing up the time flow to artificially induce excitement, but later on, the author's insightful observations of daily kid life are allowed to shine. Rhonda's simple but powerful transformation is a particularly telling moment. Gownley's mimicry and comic allusions are again on display, as Aunt Tanner (the best character for her combination of adult wisdom and youthful energy) tells a tale of her teen years that uncannily resembles an Archie comic. Engaging characters and lively art should capture readers new and old. Ages 9-12. (Apr.)[Page 55]. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
Gr 4-7--Amelia McBride returns in an all new, hilarious adventure to learn some hard truths. She finds out that some people will never be popular, but that they don't have to be unpopular. When a mistake involving space suits turns Amelia and her friend Rhonda into social outcasts, they consult The Tweenage Guide to Not Being Unpopular. In their quest to be "normal," she and her pals try out new hairstyles, attitudes, and friends, with their now-recognizable humor and spirit. They straddle that strange line between childhood and adolescence, wanting to be cool but ending up racing down the hill in a wheelbarrow. The dialogue is effortless and evokes laughter on every page. That alone is reason to read the book, but Gownley's ability to give his heroine such earnestness and thoughtfulness is what sets this story apart. Both Amelia's mother and her aunt play important parts in her life and avoid being shoved to the side. The full-color illustrations will elicit giggles all on their own. Whether for a library stocked with earlier Amelia books or one without, this is an essential purchase.--Sadie Mattox, DeKalb County Public Library, Decatur, GA[Page 140]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.