Sheinmel, Courtney. Chloe on the Bright Side (The Kindness Club #1)
November 1st 2016 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
ARC provided by the publisher
Chloe and her mother move to a new town after her parents' divorce, so that her mother can take a job as an office manager. Chloe is not happy about this, but tries to make the best of the situation. When she starts school, she tries to keep the positive thought that she'll make great new friends, and she does. She is approached by the IT Girls, and tries to fit in with them, even if it means having her mother French braid her hair or buying $100 pants in order to be like the other girls. Chloe isn't terribly comfortable with the group, but doesn't want to be a social outcast. Being their own quirky selves doesn't seem to bother Lucy and Theo, and Chloe is drawn to them, especially after they work together on a project. The problem? The head of the IT Girls doesn't approve. Chloe also has to deal with her father's new girlfriend, who has a daughter Chloe's age. Chloe is jealous that her father is spending more time with this girl than with her, but she still tries to be nice. The project that Chloe works on with Theo and Lucy involves being kind to others. Chloe finds out that not only does this benefit others, but it benefits her, too. The only problem is that the IT Girls only seem to benefit themselves.
Strengths: Chloe is a fantastic middle grade character! Even though bad things happen in her life, she tries to remain positive. There should be more of these positive examples in literature, and yet there aren't. (Exception-- Hurwitz's The Summer I Saved the World in 65 Days.) She very realistically wants to be popular, but also realistically doesn't particularly like the popular girls. Her struggles with her family are ring very true. The bright cover makes this endlessly appealing. I'm looking forward to more books in this series.
Weaknesses: I wish that the IT Girls had been a little nicer, and Lucy and Theo had been less quirky. This would make the choice between the two groups harder.
What I Really Think: Not only was this an excellent example of how to stay positive, it was also amusing and fun to read. We need many more books like this!