Spirit Week Showdown
by Allen, Crystal; Kaban, Eda (ILT)

Embarking on what she hopes will be a super-fun, boot-scootin' Spirit Week, 9-year-old cowgirl Mya Tibbs is assigned to partner with the biggest bully in school and is hurt and dismayed when her friends start calling her mean-spirited names. Simultaneous eBook. 25,000 first printing.

The pitfalls of navigating fourth-grade social dynamics is at the heart of this winning series debut. African American Mya Tibbs loves Spirit Week. She and her new BFF, local pageant queen Naomi Jackson, have plans to be Spirit Week partners and win the VIP tickets to the Fall Festival. But Mya gets paired with the school bully, Mean Connie, and immediately finds herself on the wrong end of Naomi's temper; Naomi uses her social cachet to ostracize Mya. Desperate, Mya walks a tightrope between proving her loyalty to Naomi and winning Spirit Week with Connie, who is not at all as mean as the rumors claim. A subplot involving Mya's brother's attempts to ditch an unwanted nickname complements her discoveries about genuine friendship versus callous manipulation. Allen has created a charming heroine in Mya, who can swing a lasso, use her braids as a calendar, and tell the occasional tall tale. She survives the slings and arrows of Spirit Week with panache, and a happy ending sets up the next book. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Allen deftly explores the evolving friendships of Mya Tibbs as she and her Spirit Week partner compete for VIP tickets to the Fall Festival. Nine-year-old Mya loves cowgirls, the rodeo, and jewelry. The Fall Festival has all her favorite things! She and her new best friend, Naomi, are determined to win the tickets together, but to Mya's dismay, she draws Mean Connie as her Spirit Week partner. Mya is stuck. Can she keep her promise to help Naomi and be a good partner? Even as she writes a very funny story, Allen neither flatters nor vilifies any characters, instead letting each one grow and make mistakes. As Mya tries to make the best of the situation, she learns that Connie isn't so mean, that Naomi isn't so nice, and that she herself can be a better friend. The author showcases different types of friendship throughout the story: as Mya and Naomi fall out, Mya and Connie grow closer; Mya's brother, Nugget, tries to make friends with a jock, taking his nerdy best friend for granted in the process; and twins Starr and Skye find their sisterly bond tested when their loyalties are torn between Mya and Naomi. Nuanced depictions of friendship coupled with larger-than-life and fully three-dimensional characters make this delightful book at once thoughtful and a riot to read. (Fiction. 8-10) Copyright Kirkus 2015 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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