It's almost winter break and Clare and Allison plan to spend some time together. Then again, plans can change, like when Clare's old friend, Paul, comes home for the holidays and Allison takes an instant liking to him. So, Paul and Allison spend a lot of time together and Clare, well, she's got her own stuff going on.
While volunteering with Allison as a gift-wrapper to raise money for breast cancer research, Clare meets one of Santa's elves and he invites her to a party. Even with a warning from Simon--who we meet in Not Fair, Clare--and Allison,that Vince the elf might not be the kind of guy for her, Clare decides to go. Good thing Elsa pops up from time to time to help Clare work things out.
I can't say enough great things about this series. It should be required reading in junior high because even though these readers might not realize it, they're learning some of life's lessons right alongside Clare.
Since Allison's mother is a breast cancer survivor--which we discover early on in the series--it's nice to see Clare, Allison, Clare's mom and her new friend Pam volunteering for the cause. In addition, readers get to see Clare make some less than smart choices in Double-Dare Clare, and reap the consequences of her actions.
Prinz continues the development of Clare and her friendship with Allison, but she also takes the time to focus on other characters and lets the reader see how they have changed or not really changed, like Clare's mom and dad, Aunt Rusty, and Patience. The reader is reintroduced to Paul from Book One, but Clare gets to see Paul for the first time through someone else's eyes, namely Allison's. And it's a very strange experience for Clare because she has always seen Paul as this shy, geeky person; but Allison is able to give her a different perspective.
Eric, who is introduced as Clare's drama teacher in Book Two, makes a few brief appearances in this one. Eric and Prinicipal Davidson are the main ties to Clare's school life in this book, just as Mr. Bianchini (Clare's track and field coach and Phys. Ed. teacher) was in the first book.
As anxious as I was to read Double-Dare Clare, I'm sorry to know that I don't have another Clare book to read right away. These characters have truly captured my attention and I'll be following Prinz and the Clare series, closely. The promotional flyer I received from Prinz's publicist states that a television series based upon the Clare books is in development with the Canadian Family Channel, so I'm eager to hear more about that.
The Clare series by Yvonne Prinz is on its way to becoming as much of a classic as Anne of Green Gables, the Little House series, and the books of Judy Blume.