Friday, August 7, 2015

I, Emma Freke by Elizabeth Atkinson

When shy, awkward Emma Freke meets her extended family for the first time, she suddenly sees much clearer who she really is.

Emma's grown up with her mom, grandfather, and his pet dog living in the apartment above her mom's bead shop. Emma doesn't look a thing like her mom and has outpaced everyone her age in height. Add to that her painfully shy demeanor and embarrassing name - you can see how Emma feels like she doesn't fit in.

But when Emma gets an invitation to travel to the Freke family reunion (the family of the father-she's-never-known), she meets a whole passel of cousins and relatives whom she resembles. She becomes less shy, gains confidence, and learns to make friends. Also, she learns to stand up for herself - all in a 3-day weekend!

This is a cute, fun book, and Emma's confidence building is a great tale. Sometimes things are a bit too down-pat (like a younger version of the "turn the whole town around" theme of Footloose) but it's such a good story you're willing to just buy it anyway. Additionally, I enjoyed narrator Ali Ahn's characterization and reading of the book.

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