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Review: Charlie Woodchuck is a Minor Niner by Dalya Moon

Wednesday, August 3, 2011
4 Stars: A Great Read
Series: Snowy Cove #1
Publication: 2011 by Dalya Moon

Charlie Woodchuck is the most minor of niners. She’s the youngest girl at Snowy Cove High School, and so clueless, she wore leg warmers and acid-wash jeans on her first day. Big mistake! Almost as big a mistake as signing up for a boys-only shop class.

Just when she thinks the first week of high school can't get any weirder, Charlie discovers she may be adopted. According to the genetics section in her Science textbook, her eyes should be blue, not brown.

Before she graduates from the ninth grade, the girl with the boy's name and the wrong eye color will have to use her detective skills to discover her true identity. She'll use power tools to build fantastical wood creations, and before the year ends, she'll have to face down the biggest bullies of all: the all-powerful members of Snowy Cove’s School Board.

It’s the 1980’s. Girls and boys electives are separate. Wanting to outshine Kendra, the smartest kid in class, Charlie uses her boyish nickname to sign up for wood shop, and the board decides to let it pass rather than take the trouble of changing of schedule. As it turns out, surviving the class of boys is the least of Charlie’s troubles. A Genetics unit in Biology teaches her that it’s impossible for her, a brown-eyed girl, to have been born from two blue-eyed parents.

For those of you who don’t tend to read historical fiction, Charlie Woodchuck is a Minor Niner can be read as a contemporary novel. The only major differences I noted were gender discrimination and close community; oh, and the term minor niner, which is slang for ninth graders.

Plus, Charlie’s a cool girl, entirely relatable to tweens (she’s fourteen). She’s going through adolescence, trying to figure out where she stands with her parents and peers, and she has to deal with a bunch of guys… who as usual are all dorks, except for the cool new kid. Not that dorks are horrible guys. There was one dork that I really liked: Ross. He’s the funny kid in class that you can’t help liking.

My one big problem is with the pacing of the book. There are several story lines going on, but the plot seems to jump from one to the other without fully developing them. There wasn’t enough plot development for me. I did enjoy this as an afternoon read, but it isn’t the kind of book that I’d buy in the bookstore.

Plot development aside, Dayla Moon has crafty a humorous read with a very real heroine. I recommend this book to tweens looking for a fun mystery book without any of the dark, scary stuff that accompanies a lot of mysteries.

The official book launch was on Monday, so you can buy it now at Amazon and Smashwords through the links provided above.

Dalya is currently working on more novels in the same setting, the next of which is to be released this fall. She will be weaving back and forth in time. Expect to see some returning characters.

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An ARC was provided by the author for review purposes.
4 comments on "Review: Charlie Woodchuck is a Minor Niner by Dalya Moon"
  1. this one sounds really good! I really want to read it soon! :D

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  2. This sounds like it could be in the same vein as some humorous books I enjoyed in the past as a teen myself. :) It sounds good!

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  3. This sounds excellent for me. I love reading YA and knowing what I can recommend for my future middle school students. :)

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  4. I like the setting of this book which I don't often come across. I agree paceing is important in stories. It helps a plot make sense or can add confusion. Thank you for the review.

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