kristen tracy

Too Cool for This School by Kristen Tracy


Too Cool for This School

Lane Cisco loves, loves, loves her life at Rio Chama Middle School - until her offbeat cousin comes for an extended visit and turns everything upside down. With her individual sense of style and nonconformist attitude, Angelina "Mint" Taraval is everything Lane isn't. And instead of branding her a loser the way Lane and her friends expect, people actually want to hang out with her. Including the boys Lane and her best friend, Ava, like.

When Ava comes up with a plan to ruin Mint, Lane feels stuck. She doesn't want to be mean...but she doesn't really want to stick up for her weird cousin either. Why can't things go back to the way they were before Mint arrived?

Kristen Tracy has written a terrific novel about friendship, family, fitting in, and finding out who you are when no one's looking.

Kirkus Reviews:

Tracy delivers a compelling read about problems many early-adolescent readers will find familiar. Lane and her friends are believable and recognizable...their dialogue rings true. Their emotions will ring true with readers, no matter how far in the past middle school lies. High drama so compelling middle school readers won't realize they're being exposed to a lesson in ethics.

Publishers Weekly:

Tracy (Bessica Lefter Bites Back) gives Lane a believable and drily funny voice in this story about loyalty and the complexities of friendship and family...The humorous moments and ethical quandaries make it an empathetic and entertaining read.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books:

Lane has it made: she's got popular friends, a cute possible boyfriend, and the honor of being chosen sixth-grade captain, which is an entrée to a secret world of upperclassmen. Her perfect life hits an obstacle when her same-age cousin, Mint, comes to stay for a month and joins Lane at school. Despite Lane's generosity in explaining all the rules of middle school to Mint, Mint persists in being an individual ("She should have been thankful I was trying to help her"). Though Lane and her friends initially fear that Mint's behavior will sink their own popularity, what happens is even worse: quirky, outgoing Mint eclipses them completely, winning the heart of the boy Lane's best friend adores and the attention of Lane's fellow grade captains. Tracy's snappy, intelligent prose manages the delicate feat of allowing Lane a truthful narration ("I did stuff the way you were supposed to do stuff in order to live a fantastic life") while making clear that her viewpoint is colored by selfishness and jealousy, demonstrating the disastrous effects of the crossroads of anxiety and ego. This is also a particularly fine outing for demonstrating the way mean-girling can swiftly gather speed as Lane manages to rationalize some horrible behavior and, in loyalty to her ousted friend, makes only the feeblest resistance to a plan that would leave Mint with an undeserved criminal record. Lane's perspective makes this an excellent title for language arts use, and it could be a productive entry in a book club for a discussion of perspective and the way we're all the good guys in our own lives. - Deborah Stevenson

Children's Literature:

Twelve-year-old Lane Cisco is enjoying life in middle school. She has just been selected class leader and has a group of very good girl friends. When her mother informs her that her cousin "Mint" is coming to stay for a month while her mother is on a trip, it immediately throws a wrench in Lane's perfect life. Not only will Mint be staying with the family but sharing Lane's room. Lane does not welcome Mint with open arms even though her father has stressed the importance of family. When Mint turns out to be a carefree spirit with a personality and warmth that attracts others, Lane and her friends become jealous and spiteful. Even their so-called boyfriends think Mint is cool. When Lane and her friends have had all they can take, they concoct a scheme to embarrass Mint and turn others against her. It is big drama for a group of sixth graders whose main goal in life seems to be pettiness that borders on bullying. Will the scheme backfire on Lane or will she and Mint become friends before she has to return home? This lesson in learning to accept others and ourselves will hit a note with middle school students. - Meredith Kiger, Ph.D.

Too Cool for This School was released in hardcover on August 6th, 2013.

ISBN-10: 0-385-74070-0

ISBN-13: 978-0385740708

Recommended for ages 9 and up, grades 4 and up.

menu books.html about kristen news poetry school visits contact blog