Casey Smith, girl reporter extraordinaire, should be a poster child for healthy attitudes in a sea of preteen self-esteem deflation. "My philosophy is: You are who you are. What you look like is just the package you come in... Hey--would a chocolate bar be any less chocolate-y if it came in ugly paper?" Unfortunately, not everyone at Trumbull Middle School is as refreshingly realistic. In fact, there seems to be a rash of fad diets, concern about height and weight, and overall dissatisfaction with looks. Disgusted yet worried by the bewildering behavior of her friends and classmates--at a slumber party several girls even suggest vomiting after dinner as an activity--Casey's nose for news starts tingling. And with a cheerleader competition coming up, one especially cute, slim member of the Frosted Cheerios, as Casey calls the pep squad, seems to be the target of jealous sabotage. This hard-bitten journalist for the school's Real News, is on the case.
Every bit as entertaining and on-the-mark as her earlier Get Real! titles, (Girl Reporter Rocks Polls!, Girl Reporter Blows Lid Off Town!, and others), Linda Ellerbee's Girl Reporter Gets the Skinny! tackles a very serious subject with grace and levelheadedness. Ellerbee has obviously done her research, as reflected in Casey's own investigation and in her discussions with her one-of-a-kind grandmother. The book sports a brilliantly real cast of characters with all the foibles, insecurities, and charm of middle school age kids the world over. (Ages 8 to 12) --Emilie Coulter [via]