Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Book Review: 30 Days of No Gossip

Maddie is the Queen of Gossip at her middle school, and why not? No one can beat her at finding out who’s dating whom, who’s been dissed, who’s wearing what, and all other essential pieces of gossip without which, school would be a bore. And everyone pays attention to her when she gossips, except her best friend Vi, who is around her regardless.

So what could it hurt if Maddie reveals that Vi has a crush on someone, even though Vi would die if word got out? The answer is plenty. The only way Maddie can regain Vi’s friendship is if she goes thirty days without gossiping. At all.

Things get worse when it looks like a reality show is coming to their middle school, and Vi would be perfect for it. Should Maddie blab about it? Does that count as gossip, and is it worth risking what’s left of the friendship?

Writers are told to read outside of their field to be more well-rounded, and I can’t get much farther out of my field than a middle school novel centered on girls gossiping. But 30 Days of No Gossip by Stephanie Faris is a middle school novel I actually enjoyed reading. The writing style flows smoothly, and the dialog is—dare I say it—fun.

Maddie does more than keep her lips shut. She has to make split second decisions: What’s the difference between reporting news and gossip? If she says something positive with good intentions, does that count? If her friends who have relied on her for gossip take her silence to mean she’s affirming some wild story they’ve come up with, how can she correct them without gossiping?

And Vi turns out to be a little complicated, gossiping herself a couple times. Is it really the gossip in Maddie’s life that she’s concerned about, or something else?

30 Days of No Gossip is a good novel, whether you’re looking for something in that age range or not. And it won’t hurt to leave a copy lying around for middle school girls with a certain problem to read. 


Stephanie Faris said...

Thank you so much for the great review, Mark!

Mark Murata said...

You're certainly welcome. It was a fun read.


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