Something Wiki

160p. ebook available. Dundurn. 2015. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9781459728219; ebk. $8.99. ISBN 9781459728233.
Gr 5–8—Instead of writing in a diary, 12-year-old Jo Waller inserts her private jokes, feelings, and stories into relevant Wikipedia articles. Although her edits are inevitably deleted, Jo likes it that way and says, "It feels like I'm writing out my secrets in the sand on a beach." Jo's friend Stacey has mysteriously begun avoiding her in favor of more girly, popular friends, repeatedly lying to avoid spending time with her. Then Jo learns that her 24-year-old brother will be moving back into the house with his girlfriend, Jen, but no one has told Jo that Jen is pregnant. Despite the book's title, Jo's edited Wikipedia entries are more of an introductory device for each chapter than an actual component of the plot. The first-person narrative deals authentically with the betrayal of a best friend, the misery of painful cystic acne, and a family's journey navigating change and welcoming an unexpected pregnancy. Jo knows about sex but places it decisively in the "Ew!" category. The story also touches briefly on the reality of victim-blaming; Jo receives a dirty look from a teacher after someone writes, "Slut" on her locker. Perhaps the most lovingly resonant (but not sappy) encouragement Jo receives is from Jen, who reminds her that no matter how bad things get, the story isn't over yet. Sutherland skillfully explores the preteen search for unique identity.
VERDICT Recommend this one to readers not quite ready for Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Pocket Bks., 1999).

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