Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle
Reasons for reading: The title/cover; I like Lauren Myracle's books; another book for the Young Adult Challenge
Description: "Growing up in a world of wealth and pastel-tinted entitlement, fifteen-year-old Carly has always relied on the constancy—and authenticity—of her sister, Anna. But when fourteen-year-old Anna turns plastic-perfect-pretty over the course of a single summer, everything starts to change. And there are boys involved, complicating things as boys always do. With warmth, insight, and an unparalleled gift for finding humor even in stormy situations, beloved author Lauren Myracle dives into the tumultuous waters of sisterhood and shows that even very different sisters can learn to help each other stay afloat."
First line: "I'm out by our pool with my sister Anna and my best friend, Peyton."
My thoughts: This book looks at two sisters who are starting to grow apart as they grow up. They can come together again, but they need to break out of the roles of big and little sister. Carly is a well-drawn character, complete with some typical teen annoyances - she defines herself as different than everyone at "Holly Roller" high school by what she thinks she's not rather than what she is. She also, for all her complaints about life as a rich kid, doesn't seem to have any problem living in a big house with a pool and being given a credit card to go clothes shopping with, for example. But all of Carly's rebelling does show that she at least thinks about things like racism and poverty, unlike the entitled, plastic kids at her school. Anna can be a bit of a brat, but she's definitely hitting puberty without much help from either her mother (who thinks her budding bosom means she's fat) or sister (who's jealous and can't get over her role as know-it-all big sis).
Other characters include bad boy love interest Cole who is obviously bad news to everyone but Carly (who is almost painfully stupid about it, but then, she's a teen girl in lust), while lovely, quiet, and Dutch Roger waits in the wings for Carly's blinders to come off. Everyone should have a Roger! Vonzell, Carly's new friend and the only black girl at their school, is a welcome breath of reality and true friendship, while Peyton, with her hair extensions and fakeness, has definitely reached the end of her usefulness as a pal. The girls' parents seem to be almost caricatures of aloof rich parents at times, when they're not making hurtful comments about the girls.
The verdict: A good sister story - both girls manage to come out stronger at the end. And...there are baby ducks involved! You can't go wrong with a book that has baby ducks in it.