What do you do about The Mean Girl in school?
You know who she is. She’s the one who can’t walk past anybody without sneering and snarling some insult. She thinks she’s all that and she never lets anybody forget it. With just a halfway look, she can stick a knife in your back and twist it til you almost drop.
You know who she is. Every school has one.
Or two. Or five.
In the new novel “That’s What’s Up!” by Paula Chase, Mina Mooney needs to forget about the Blue Cheer-Devil herself, Jessica Johnson. Mina doesn’t need Jess’s drama, particularly now.
Everybody in the school café is buzzing, and the talk is about Extreme week. Del Rio Bay High hasn’t won an Extreme cheerleading competition in five years and Coach Embry has hand-picked this years’ team, including a few freshman. Mina Mooney was thrilled to be one of those chosen and she’s worked harder than she’s ever worked on anything.
Jessica Johnson hates Mina. She hates the way Mina is always cheerful and chirpy. She hates that Sara, Jess’s twin, seems to really like the little freshman witch. Mostly, she detests that Mina has gotten into Upper, the highest-level clique, without paying her dues. Because of all this, Jess is Mina’s worst enemy.
Jacinta, one of Mina’s BFFs, is in love with Rasheem but she’s tired of his trippin’. Not long ago, Cinny and her little brothers and sisters moved to the “rich” side of town to stay with their aunt and Rasheem doesn’t like it. Cinny has tried over and over to break up with him, but he’s too irresistible. As many times as she breaks up with him, she goes running back.
Kelly Lopez really did break up with her boyfriend, Angel, but he says he still loves her. He loves her so much that he promises to stop doing the very thing that made her call it off with him in the first place. But did he?
As Extreme gets closer, the excitement level at DRB High goes through the roof. And then Jess drops a bombshell. She offers Mina a truce, just for Extreme Week. She says it’s for Sara’s sake, but can Jess be trusted?
Haven’t we all been the victim of The Mean Girl? Author Paula Chase surely has because the characters Jessica and her best friend Mari-Beth are so perfectly, terribly nasty that you’re almost transported, stunned, speechless, and back to your locker, by this well-written young adult novel.
I really liked this book because of that, in fact: the characters are real and believable, as are the situations. Keep in mind that this book is filled with text-message abbreviations and teen language, which might make it hard for most adults to read. But isn’t that the point? This isn’t a book for grown-ups.
If you know a young adult who loves novels or who struggles with being outside a clique, this is a good book to find. For her, “That’s What’s Up!” gets two thumbs topside.