Casey Smith, girl reporter, is the only sane person in her entire school. Everyone else seems to be coming down with a hideous case of First Dance Flu. Flirting, blushing, huddling and whispering, spastic hair flipping... doesn't anyone care anymore about important things? Advertising in schools, for example? Specifically, a financial sponsorship by the Crush cola company that distinctly resembles a monopoly with the potential to undermine Trumbull Middle School's constitutional rights. Casey, self-proclaimed "melodramatic motormouth," is on her editorial soapbox and ready to fight the power! And when Tyler McKenzie, with the caramel-brown hair, which is the exact color of his eyes, which are the exact color of Casey's freckles--not that she notices, not that she cares, not that she wants to go to the dance with him--joins the protest, Casey steps into high gear. As usual, she uses the school paper, Real News as her medium.
Never afraid to take on big issues (corporate sponsorship in schools is a growing controversy, as she notes in her afterword), Linda Ellerbee has a lot in common with Casey Smith. Blending topical subject matter with right-on-the-mark teen concerns, Ellerbee hits her stride with number 4 in the Get Real series. Casey is a thoroughly appealing protagonist, a secretly shy rabble-rouser. She navigates the frothy waters of adolescence with dry wit and confidence that varies from charmingly wobbly to rock solid. (Ages 9 to 12) --Emilie Coulter