The book seems to be listed for grades 4-6, which seems reasonable. However, I am an adult and I loved it. It both reminded me about what it was like to be a young person, and it seemed to ring true about what it must be like to be young in today's world. While most of the main characters are female, I enjoyed it as a male. I would hope that some young boys would be able to read this book and have it relate to their lives.
I thought this was great writing which captured the world of kids in maybe 3rd to 8th grade. I loved how the three sisters interacted with each other and the world around them, and the same for the other kids. Reading it, I assumed that some young readers would see themselves as they read about what is going through the minds of these kids.
It would be interesting to have this book at summer camps, school library book groups and such, where kids might read it all together, and then to be able to hear what they had to say about the book the next morning at breakfast.
I think adults might get a wake-up call: how they are portrayed as being seen by the children around them.
I'm not sure what I was getting into when I requested The Best Worst Thing. If I'm being honest after finishing the book, this was a bit of an odd duck, but in a good way. It has a very unique writing style and Maggie's voice is very distinctive. As she begins to grow up and mature she begins to see a world of danger and injustice -- she's terrified. There's a murderer out on the loose, the rabbits next door are being held prisoner, and she is struggling to accept the fact that she is growing up.
The writing style at times threw me off a bit. It felt a bit challenging for a middle grade story, and the subject matters, though important, sometimes read a little awkwardly. I get that the book is showcasing anxiety and looks at the realities of life and growing up, but part of me felt very disconnected from Maggie, something I think I shouldn't have been feeling. I felt like she was somewhat distanced from the reader (or maybe that is my impression).
Still, I LOVED what this book represents. It's a very honest protrayal of middle grade anxiety and attempting to cope with the fact that the world is slowly starting to expand. When you are young you don't realize a lot of what is going on in the world, let around what is even around you, and The Best Worst Thing captures these emotions and discomforts exceptionally well. You feel the tenseness of Maggie's feelings, you see that she is struggle with the idea of growing up. I felt for her, I really did.
And I think, of anything, that is why this book needs to be read. While I had trouble connecting with the writing, I think the themes and story itself are very valuable to middle grade readers out there who are still learning about what it means to grow up. There's no manual for it, and even when you become an adult, there's no hard-and-fast rule to be an adult either. Maggie's struggle of life changing dynamics and discomforts -- they aren't new and they are something we shouldn't be ignoring either. Definitely worth investing if you like more realistic middle grade reads.
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