Sunday, January 4, 2009

Not Fair, Clare by Yvonne Prinz--Book Review

If you enjoyed Still There, Clare by Yvonne Prinz, then you'll want to buy Book Two of this series, Not Fair, Clare.

A lot of new stuff is going on in Clare's life: she's got her new best friend Allison, she's auditioning for the lead in Macbeth, she's now in eighth grade, and she's got a new job babysitting her next door neighbor's daughter--who's a handful, by the way. But one thing has stayed the same--Ginny Germain is still the most popular, most beautiful girl in school and she treats Clare like she's invisible. But Ginny seems very interested in playing nice with Allison and is asking her to join her groupies at lunch and inviting her to parties.

Thankfully a lot of Clare's time is taken up with rehersals for Macbeth, and there's her Golden Lab puppy Elsa; but with the real Elsa still away in Paris and Allison going places with Ginny, Clare is discovering just how important her friends are.

Many of the characters readers meet in Still There, Clare--which we reviewed here--return to join Clare in more adventures in Not Fair, Clare. The title of this one, just like the title for the first book, comes from a closing line in one of Clare's letters to Elsa, as she describes how not fair it is that Allison is going to a party with Ginny.

Clare's mom is still acting like a Martha Stewart clone, her lawyer dad is still as oblivious as dirt, and Ginny--well, even I think I would want to put a curse on Ginny. Aunt Rusty is...well..she's Aunt Rusty, a bit off-the-wall artist who has been dating Clare's track and field teacher--much to Clare's dismay in Book One.

But there are a lot of great new things and people in this one. The introduction of Patience--who, is anything but patient--and her harried parents adds a new dimension to Clare's life. Simon wins the male lead in Macbeth and Clare develops a crush on her leading man, even though he is dating the "perfect" Sylvia. Clare begins hanging out at a new joint with her cast mates. And even though, track and field took up a large chunk of time for her in the first book and is also responsible for officially introducing her to Allison, track and field is sidelined when Clare discovers her natural acting ability and this becomes her main focus.

In this book that is equally as funny, if not funnier, than Still There, Clare, the reader gets a great feel for how Clare is maturing; and since this book--like the first--is written in first person, there's an automatic connection to Clare.

The cover art on all three of these books is young and hip, and the colors were smartly chosen. The simple, subtle patterns found on the cover of each book: paisleys (Book One), flowers (Book Two), and leaves (Book Three) are the perfect compliment and are repeated on the first page of each new chapter, so that the edge of the pages when the book is closed seem to have a zebra stripe or spotted pattern. So, kudos go out to both the cover illustrator and the cover and interior designer.

The Clare series is going to have girls lining up at bookstores as soon as each new book is released. Witty and charming, Not Fair, Clare will leave readers clamoring for more Clare and friends.

Title: Not Fair, Clare
Author: Yvonne Prinz
Publisher: Raincoast Books
ISBN-10: 1-55192-984-8
ISBN-13: 978-1-55192-984-2
SRP: $9.95 (U.S.)

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