10 Steps to Girlfriend Status
Publisher: Write Integrity Press
Publication Date: 2015-09-01
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"Using Wendy as her narrator, Toney (8 Notes to a Nobody, 2015, etc.) delineates some of the highs and lows of an innocent first love in this fast-paced novel. The story goes beyond its catchy title to tackle serious issues relevant to teens ... A sensitive YA tale about love, change, and loss, with an empowering message for girls." -- Kirkus Reviews
Cynthia is a former advertising designer, marketing director, and interior decorator who holds a BA in art education with a minor in history. She writes for preteens and teens because she wants them to know how wonderful, powerful, and valuable they are. At other jobs, she had trouble following directions and keeping her foot out of her mouth. While employed by a large daily newspaper, she rewrote some ad copy without permission and got reprimanded for it. At that point, she knew she was destined to become an author. It's probably best that she is now self-employed. In her spare time, when she's not cooking Cajun or Italian food, Cynthia grows herbs and makes silk accent pillows. If you make her angry, she will throw one at you. A pillow, not an herb. Well, maybe both.
I loved the humor, fun writing style, and character development in this story, just as I did in the first book in this series, 8 Notes to a Nobody. The characters do not fit neatly into any stereotypes, often seeming to surprise Wendy with their behavior. My favorite character was Sam, the deaf grandson of Mrs. V. Too often we jump to conclusions about people with special needs or challenges, but Wendy soon discovers this character faces his own fears, goals, challenges, and needs, just like any teen. I hope that Sam will be in the next book in this series!
While I particularly enjoyed watching the mystery of the scandal from the past unfold, I was able to relate to the challenges of fitting in and finding yourself in high school. I remember how starting a new school threw everything in my life out of whack, and I often felt like a fish out of water. This story shows the importance of deciding what type of person you want to be. Wendy and all the characters grow in this story of friendship and forgiveness, a story teen and preteens are sure to enjoy.
This is actually the second book in Cynthia Toney’s Birdface series, but you don’t have to read the first book to enjoy this wonderful YA novel. I actually read this one first but found the characters so intriguing I had to pick up the first book, 8 Notes to a Nobody, to find out more about the characters. I loved that this novel was about a regular girl who faces real issues – misunderstandings with friends, complexities of blended families, difficulties with aging loved ones and complicated feelings of a new relationship. Toney expertly blends all of this around an intriguing family mystery which makes the story even more compelling. This is the kind of book so many parents search for – a thoroughly enjoyable wholesome story with issues that teen readers can relate to.