Title: Beauty and Bernice
Author: Nancy Viau
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Schiffer Publishing
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: August 28, 2018
Twelve-year-old Bernice Baransky likes the grunge look she’s come by honestly as the only girl at Porchtown Skate Park who can pop an ollie, ride the rails, and grind the slabs. She’d love to impress Wyatt Anderson, a skater who calls her Dude, but Bernice can’t seem to do more than mumble when he’s around. Should she accept help from a new neighbor, the proper and princessy Odelia, who is desperate to befriend her? Odelia keeps a fancy notebook called Odelia’s Guide to the Social Graces and spouts off hilarious lessons on poise, posture, manners, and what to do about embarrassing “oopsies” like unexpected burps and spilled soda. This exciting story takes readers on a thrill ride from the skate park’s half-pipe to Smile Academy, a summer camp for Down syndrome children. A novel full of adventure and heart, it asks the question: can two very different people ever be friends?
This book had some positive lessons, though I found the plot hard to believe.
This book had great representation. Bernice had to volunteer at a summer camp for kids with Down syndrome. She didn’t know how to treat them, and she got in trouble for her behaviour when she yelled at a boy, telling him to act normal. She learned how to treat people with disabilities and to be patient when someone acts in a way that you aren’t expecting.
Odelia seemed like she was right out of a fairy tale. She didn’t know how to behave in the real world. Her home life and family were a mystery throughout most of the story. She has a whole staff of people that we hear about but never see. I wish she was more of a realistic character, because her presence made it seem like there were some fantasy aspects of the story, but there weren’t any.
Unfortunately the mix of the fairytale and the real world didn’t work for me in this story.
Have you read Beauty and Bernice? What did you think of it?