By Awnali Mills
Callie is leading a double life. At her Manhattan private school, people think she knows Beyonce and swaps recipes with Taylor Swift. At home, her father has lost his job, her mother is losing her mind over her soap business, and her brother is being bullied. And why does her grandmother seem so enamored of the year 1986? And why does no one talk about her Uncle Larry? And why are her parents whispering about a lawsuit? Callie is keeping so many secrets that she can’t always keep them straight. Sometimes, a girl just needs to stand on a roof and breathe. Unfortunately, she can’t hear the bell from the school roof, which makes her late. Any more tardies, and they’re going to call her parents. So when Callie accidentally falls asleep waiting for her grandmother one morning, she decides that she’ll just skip school.
Then Callie meets Cassius, a prickly unschooled kid, at the Metropolitan Museum. And Callie decides that, like Cassius, she’ll just get her education from museums—at least for now. But can she keep lying to the school, her parents, her friends, and her grandmother? Or will everything fall apart?
I enjoyed this book. Callie is a typical sixth grade girl who just wants to blend in and be happy. She’s in a difficult situation, and instead of coming clean, she just…leaves. Unfortunately, she can’t seem to get back on track, and escaping is just easier than dealing with her problems. I know that a lot of kids will sympathize with Callie’s desire to make things easier for herself, and will enjoy her quirky, funny narration. Be sure not to skip the chapter titles—I particularly enjoyed them. Recommended for grades 4-5.