Diary of a Parent Trainer by Jennifer Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Katie Sutton is a thirteen-year-old expert in parent management, so she is writing the ultimate user guide to grown-ups. She knows all the "Modes" and how to switch a grown-up from a less-desirable mode to another, more favorable one. Katie has two best friends, an older sister, a younger brother, a widowed mom, loads of other relatives, and a crush on a cute boy. Life is pretty good until her mom does the unthinkable: finds a boyfriend. Suddenly, all Katie thinks she knows about managing the behavior of her grown-ups gets called into question by the invasion of this stranger into their lives.
For some reason, this book reminded me of Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging, although I read that so long ago, I'm not sure how they are similar, other than being about British teenagers with crushes. In any case, I enjoyed reading the mock-diary-style tale of changing household dynamics told from a teen's point of view. Coincidentally, I was concurrently reading A Career Girl's Guide to Becoming a Stepmom and found these two sides of the family coin tracked well together. I think it would be a good choice for tweens, especially those who have experienced divorce or the death of a parent.
For readers' advisors: character doorway is primary, story is secondary
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