All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson

Published by Dial Books

Summary:  Imogene has grown up at the Renaissance Faire, where her parents both work, and been homeschooled all her life.  When she decides to go to public middle school, she’s not quite prepared for a new world of tough teachers, cafeteria food, and figuring out the social hierarchy and where she fits into it.  Each chapter begins with a page that looks like an illuminated manuscript, and chapters switch back and forth between Imogene’s life at school and at home.  The two worlds collide occasionally, once when she realizes that a girl she’s seen bullied is a big Renaissance Faire fan and a potential friend, and again when a group of girls who may or may not be her friends show up for a birthday party.  After a tough week in which Imogene herself is accused of bullying and she throws her little brother’s beloved stuffed squirrel into the lake, she’s ready to move from her role at the Faire from squire to hermit.  But her loving, if unconventional, family and Renaissance community help her come through it all stronger than ever.  248 pages; grades 4-7.

Pros:  Victoria Jamieson’s follow-up to her Newbery-honored Roller Girl does not disappoint in any way.  Imogene is a likeable and believable protagonist, and readers will enjoy learning about the world of the Renaissance Faire the way they did roller derby.  The middle school scenes ring true, and the be-yourself message is inspiring.

Cons:  A couple mentions of sex and a language incident or two may raise a few elementary parent eyebrows.

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