Standiford, Natalie. The Only Girl in School. Scholastic Press 2016. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-82996-0. 212 p. Gr 3-6. P7Q7
Claire is the only girl in the entire school! Her best friend has moved away and the entire school year is told through the letters that Claire is sending to her far away friend. Claire is being bullied and excluded by not just the other kids, did I mention that everyone else is a boy, but the teachers too. Her parents want her to tough it out and her only remaining friend is a boy that likes her and is always trying to drool on her. Claire stays strong the whole year by finding ways to embrace her own special traits. She draws on the bathroom aka clubhouse walls, which is for some reason acceptable. She wins 2 boat races even after the boys try to sabotage her and plays multiple rolls in the school play because no boys will pretend to be girls. She even manages to solve the pirate legend of her town, eventually winning over all the boys.
Verdict: This book was surprisingly enjoyable. I didn’t think the letter writing would be a good way to tell this story but I ended up swept away. The bullies and the teachers eventually give Claire her due and that is very rewarding. There was some ghost communicating with Claire that was a little farfetched but overall it was a great story of staying strong when things are rough.
October 2016 review by Vanessa Clausing.