10 Steps to Girlfriend Status: Bird Face Series Continues

Author: Cynthia T. Toney

Publisher: Write Integrity Press

Age Range: 12 – 16 years

Following on from Book 1 in this series by Cynthia T. Toney, book 2 sees main character Wendy grow a little older and wiser as she navigates a number of major life changes.  The story addresses some serious real-life issues, while tracking Wendy’s everyday struggles with schoolwork, friends and family.

I felt emotionally exhausted after reading the first book, and in some ways the second book is also emotionally taxing.  Cynthia T. Toney has a knack of exploring life’s challenging issues while keeping the tone and pacing appropriate for readers in their early to mid-teens. In this story, Wendy discovers the joys and pitfalls of dating and first boyfriends.  But she also says goodbye to her dear old friend Mrs V who begins to deteriorate with Alzheimer’s.  There is also an historical family mystery that reveals issues of racism and tragedy in the past which is slowly uncovered as the story progresses.

The most prominent challenge for Wendy is that she is now a member of a step/blended family.  Many young readers will relate to Wendy’s irritation and distress as she adjusts to new relationship dynamics within her new family.  I must admit I became somewhat annoyed myself as her mother and stepfather initially struggled to adjust from being single parents to co-parenting together.

Wendy herself has changed from the first book.  She is more self-confident and insightful and is trying to remain positive despite the challenges.  I wondered if the story might have been ‘spiced up’ more if her character had been drawn as a little more defiant or non-compliant.  My other reservation about this book is that there is very little direct reference to Wendy’s Christian beliefs.  Indeed, there is nothing overtly ‘Catholic’ about this story at all.  Wendy is clearly a virtuous soul who strives to do the right thing in challenging circumstances, but there are no references to her spiritual life or beliefs other than one or two mentions that she attends Church with her mother.

Cynthia T. Toney

Young readers will enjoy the story, and will be drawn in by the family mystery, Mrs V’s deterioration and of course, the dramas surrounding first boyfriend.  It is an entirely appropriate story for this age group.  It is also refreshing to have a cast of characters with mixed racial heritage – like many young people in Australia, the characters enjoy a rich mixture of racial/cultural heritage. The story is not, however, overtly Christian or Catholic.

You can purchase 10 Steps to Girlfriend Status HERE.

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