Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet by Erin Dionne

The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named HamletHamlet Kennedy just wants to fit in. Eighth grade is hard enough without being in the spotlight, but thanks to a genius little sister and her Shakespearean professor parents that's exactly where she finds herself. Okay, it's weird enough having to live with a name like Hamlet, but how would you like to have a class with your seven-year-old sister? When Hamlet's English and History teachers decide to do a 'Salute to Shakespeare' unit, Hamlet just knows her parents will parade through her school in period costumes and embarrass her further.

The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet is all about fitting in, or rather, not standing out. Many a middle school student spends three years trying to be just like everyone else. For Hamlet, there's no way she can do it. Having her little sister in the same school, much less the same class is a major reason. I loved how she desperately tries to seem like her neighbor, while knowing that there's no way she can. Her cringe of embarrassment at having her classmates actually see her mother's odd dress is exactly how many eighth graders feel about their parents. Most parents aren't as exaggeratedly embarrassing as Hamlet's, but I know most middle schoolers feel exactly the same way as Hamlet about their own parents. How Hamlet resolves her feelings and eventually embraces her uniqueness will have readers cheering.

A fun read about the highs and lows of being in middle school, The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet will be a must read for anyone who dreams of just fitting in. I give it a B+.

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