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True to Your Selfie

True to Your Selfie, Megan McCafferty's 11th novel for teen and tween readers, is a genuine (and genuinely entertaining) novel about middle-school growing pains. While this may be a common topic, it's not often addressed from the point of view McCafferty takes here: the Cool Girl.

Ella is perfectly set up to start seventh grade. She is best friends with the wealthy, popular Morgan Middleton and the two of them post videos of themselves doing pop song covers, with Morgan singing lead and Ella playing ukulele and singing harmony. With 10,000 followers on "each of the most important socials," #Morgan&Ella have a solid start on reaching Morgan's goal of "global multiplatform domination." It's great. Right? But Morgan is slightly domineering--she chooses Ella's outfits, makes her schedule and has dubbed her the "Goofball Goddess" to Morgan's own "Girlboss Goddess Next Door." Ella would talk to her best friend, Sophie, about all of this, but Morgan doesn't like Sophie, so Ella can't, either.

Since readers of middle-grade and YA are often given a surrogate in Sophie's position, Ella could easily come across as a Mean Girl more than a Cool Girl. Goofball Goddess seems like an insult--and is in relation to Girlboss Goddess--but tells a truth about Ella. Her first-person point of view, told in quick, sharp chapters, shows a girl who is friendly, easy going, messy, generally happy and eager to try new things. McCafferty builds her in such a way that her development (from average to cool and back again) seems true and understandable. Besides, how many middle-schoolers would say no to instant popularity and global multiplatform domination? --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness