After an unfortunate incident at the hair salon, Bessica is not allowed to see her best friend, Sylvie. That means she's going to start middle school a-l-o-n-e. Bessica feels like such a loser. She wants friends. She's just not sure how to make them.
It doesn't help that her beloved grandma is off on some crazy road trip and has zero time to listen to Bessica. Or that Bessica has a ton of homework. Or that gorgeous Noll Beck thinks she's just a kid. Or that there are some serious psycho-bullies in her classes. Bessica doesn't care about being popular. She just wants to survive—and look cute. Is that too much to ask when you're eleven?
Starred Review, The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, February 2011:
"Bessica's voice is funny, goofy, anxious, and absolutely emotionally authentic...Readers negotiating their own middle-school minefields or soaking up all the preparatory information they can find will breathlessly follow Bessica's escapades."
NOMINEE - Bank Street Child Study Children's Book Award
Kristen Tracy grew up in a small town in Idaho, where she learned a lot about bears. Sadly, she was not clever enough to reinvent herself in middle school. Also, technically, Kristen Tracy never went to middle school. She attended North Bonneville Junior High, where she took classes in industrial exploration (which involved lots of saws), Idaho history, public speaking, and keyboarding. Her least favorite class was PE, in which she was forced to run, tumble, hurdle, play shuffleboard, and perform the flexed-arm hang.