Ava and Pip by Carol Weston is a delightful journey into the private life of young Ava. This one is geared toward the younger end of MG, and the voice is exceptional in portraying just that.
Ava is the younger sister, but she often feels invisible. With an extremely shy older sister, and word-nerdy parents who seem too preoccupied for her, Ava often feels overlooked. She has trouble expressing her feelings with her family, so she turns to her diary to voice her complaints and work through her emotions.
However, she's had a problem finishing the diaries. This year, though, she is determined to stick with the plan and complete at least one entire diary in her life. Her dad has given her a special pen that she plans to use for this endeavor - until she ends up losing it!
But Ava is pulled out of her own difficulties when two unrelated events come together - a new girl at school, and a writing contest. When the new girl is mean to Ava's sister, Ava gets even with her entry to the contest. Of course, her plan backfires and turns into bigger headaches than not being noticed. Now Ava's suddenly on everyone's radar, and not in a particularly good way.
This was a fun read in several ways. The story line was appropriate and handled realistically for the age range, and I felt a definite bond with Ava and empathy for her situation. And Ms. Weston introduces loads of fun and interesting word facts and games that will be a valuable addition to every reader's repertoire. I loved all the palindromes!
Definitely worth checking out for your 8-12 age range.