Bessica Lefter Bites Back
Bessica's settled into middle school life . . . her friendship with Sylvie is back on, she's made some cool new friends, she's dealing with the psycho-bullies, and handling more homework than should ever be allowed. But what's worrying her most these days are her mascot duties. The pressure's on to be the funniest, wildest bear mascot her school's ever seen - and to make sure her rival tiger mascot doesn't humiliate her on the field. Is that even possible?
Bessica Lefter is back, and she is just as socially doomed and imperfect as in The Reinvention of Bessica Lefter. When her best friend, Sylvie, accidently unleashes a rumor about an unpleasant foot fungus, Bessica's already-slumping social status plummets. The ensuing falling-out with Sylvie, the stress of having to split mascot duties with dour Alice Potgeiser, and her unflagging crush on a hunky neighbor all bring about a comical resolution that will have readers laughing aloud while shaking their heads in disbelief. Bessica's imperfection is what makes this a story not only about self-reinvention but also about self-improvement. - Erin Anderson
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books:
In The Reinvention of Bessica Lefter, Bessica survived starting middle school without her best friend, Sylvie, who's at a different school. Sixth grade is still tough, though: she and Sylvie, who's faring much better in middle school than Bessica, are having friendship issues that lead to bickering and text warring. She's also struggling in her new role as the school mascot (a bear), and getting increasingly uneasy about her debut performance, especially after she finds out that the infamous mascot of the opposing team has evil plans for her.
Bessica's pell-mell, self-focused, yet funny narration still rings true as the voice of a kid whose anxieties have outpaced the rest of her development; while she can be somewhat wearing literary company at times, it's an effective portrayal of the place preteens sometimes bog down in, and it's realistic that she doesn't so much grow as a result of adversity but scramble her way through to the next obstacle as best as she can. There's additional humor and authenticity in both her panic at the rumored upcoming "facebombing" by the opposing mascot and the fact that nobody knows exactly what facebombing is but dreads it nonetheless. Bessica is sometimes the girl kids hope not to be, but that's something most kids take a turn at anyway, and her successful and funny survival of a very trying period indeed will elicit sympathy and relief from readers.
School Library Journal:
In this sequel to The Reinvention of Bessica Lefter, Bessica has made up with her best friend, Sylvie. She is about to make her debut as the half-mascot of North Teton Middle School. She has found some new friends. Things are going fairly well for her, considering that her grandmother is still on vacation with Willy, a man she met online, and Alice, the other half-mascot, still hates her. Then Bessica learns that T.J., the mascot she will face off against at the first game, plans on humiliating her with a facebomb. She's not sure what that is, but she knows it's not good. Not even feeding the dreamy Noll's lizard while he's away at horseback riding school or her grandmother's early return can distract her from her worries about what will happen. If T.J. succeeds, her whole school will be humiliated. She just needs to decide whether to bite first or bite back - and not get in trouble for it.
Bessica Lefter Bites Back was released in hardcover on March 13th, 2012.
Recommended for ages 9 and up, grades 4 and up.
This is the second book about Bessica. Check out the first book, The Reinvention of Bessica Lefter.