Thursday, July 2, 2009

Emma-Jean Lazarus is Back!

For fans of Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree, there is good news -- now there is Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell in Love. I enjoyed the fact that the author, Lauren Tarshis, used a similar title format as the first book.

In this latest book about Emma-Jean, she now seems to have a solid group of girlfriends. But, like in the first book, Emma-Jean has a difficult time picking up on some of the social cues within the group. Especially now that there is a Spring Fling dance involved. Her friends are more giggly, excited, and trying to devise what strategy they will use to invite a boy of their choice to the Spring Fling dance, where the girls invite the boys. Emma-Jean is a little puzzled by all this and very academic in her observation of her friends and their behaviors.

However, Emma-Jean herself is even experiencing funny sensations inside whenever she sees Will Keeler, a cute 7th grade boy. She actually thinks about asking Will to the dance, but her friends try to dissuade her because Will is supposedly going to be asked to the dance by one of the popular (and mean!) girls in school.

When she explains her feelings to her mom, her mom tells her that it's probably a crush, and that crushes "come on suddenly, and then poof -- are gone." Emma-Jean replies, "Like hives?" She still lives her life at a literal level and has difficulty understanding social nuances.

Then, there is a situation in the book where one of Emma-Jean's closest friends, Colleen, gets a note in her locker from a secret admirer. She is convinced at first it might be from Emma-Jean, but when E-J tells her that is not the case, Colleen believes it must then be a 7th grade boy, and she begs Emma-Jean to find out who the admirer is. Emma-Jean is very analytical in her approach to discovering the identity of the secret admirer.

Something I learned in this book that I missed in the first is that Emma-Jean has looks that would make her friends call her "gorgeous". I was so caught up in her behaviors that I didn't consider her physical appearance. Yet another interesting dimension to this character.

I enjoy that there is a book like this where the main character is not a "typical" kid. Seeing the world through Emma-Jean's eyes is very enlightening, and I think it helps bring a sensitivity to readers. I highly recommend Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell in Love.

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