Weird Rules to Follow by Kim Spencer is a middle grade collection of short vignettes that whisk readers away to the not so distant past, where a bicycle with a banana seat and room on the handlebars was the star of summer.
This beautiful novel transports readers to 1980s Prince Rupert, where Mia and her best friend Lara are neighbors. Despite sharing a neighborhood, their lives are quite different: Mia lives with her mother and grandmother in a home always open to their other relatives, whenever they need a place to stay, while Lara lives with her mother, father, and little brother in a large home, where every room looks like its lifted from the pages of a magazine. As Mia, who is indigenous, grows up through these short vignettes, she begins to see how she is treated differently than Lara and their other classmates.
The writing in this collection is atmospheric, viscerally rooting the reader in the setting’s distinct place and time. The setting is a character unto itself, as Mia ages and her understanding of her area changes and grows with her. From neighborhoods to the dance studio to the places her family travels take her, Mia’s world is presented in a relatable and engaging way.
This collection of connected stories show bits of daily life and notable moments in Mia’s life. Each vignette tells its own story, but the connected nature of the community, characters, and events ties the narrative together in just the right way. The length of the vignettes makes this an excellent choice for young readers, including those who can be intimidated by long chapters or texts. This is an excellent choice for those readers, especially, as each story can be read in one sitting and leave the reader satisfied.
Spencer has mastered the middle grade perspective and voice, which lets the heart of her stories shine. Mia is an endearing and intriguing character, which makes reading this collection of stories following her such a wonderful experience.
Weird Rules to Follow is sure to delight middle grade readers and their grownups with its heart and humor.
Weird Rules to Follow will be available October 18, 2022.
Thank you to author Kim Spencer, Orca Books, and NetGalley for an advanced copy such that I could share my honest opinion in this review.
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