Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Trauma Queen by Barbara Dee - Review and Giveaway

Trauma Queen
Trauma Queen
Barbara Dee
Simon and Schuster
272 pgs.

"You'll figure it out. Soon this will all seem normal."

Marigold has moved "3 times in the last 4 years" and just started Aldentown Middle School in the last three weeks of the school year.  After the fiasco with her mom and Trisha Hartley, her bff Emma's mom, she just wants to be unknown. 

"Get in there and sniff everyone's butt, Marigold."

But, her mom is not going to allow that.  She wants to do an improv class at Aldentown and Marigold is trying to stop her, to no avail.  Of course, everyone loves her mom so Mari has to hear about her all.the.time.

What I connected with in Trauma Queen is the relationship between Marigold and her mom, Becca.  Becca is a performance artist and she's totally in her own world. This isn't a job for her, it's who she is.  She sometimes seems to forget that there is a world outside of her work and that what she does has an impact on her children.  She's sure that she is doing the right thing and if Marigold just put herself out there, things would go well.

In the meantime, Marigold is trying to figure out where she fits in.  She's losing touch with her best friend Emma and she's landed in the middle of a drama at her new school. There's a boy she likes, a girl who dislikes her but likes the boy, and some other supporting characters. 

I loved how Barbara Dee wove the story of the family around the story of Marigold's troubles at school. Marigold's struggles with how her mom mirrors her struggles to assert herself at school. It really reminded me of my relationship with my own daughter and her quest to find her niche at school.  When I finished the book I texted her:

I've always been happy that we were in the same school system, even the same schools, because I knew all of her teachers and her friends.  When she went to high school, she told me she was excited to meet kids that I didn't know! I really think Barbara Dee nailed the interactions between Becca and Marigold.

My only disappointment was the cover of the book. It doesn't reflect Marigold and her situation at all! Marigold's trying NOT to be noticed and being onstage would be mortifying.

I recommend this one to anyone looking for good realistic middle grade fiction.  The daughter and I also enjoyed This Is Me From Now On This Is Me From Now Onand
The Melting of Maggie BeanThe Melting of Maggie Bean, two great Aladdin Mix titles, an imprint from Simon and Schuster.

Three lucky winners will receive one copy of TRAUMA QUEEN by Barbara Dee along with a limited edition t-shirt!
 To enter
Send an e-mail to TQgiveaway@gmail.com.

include your name and e-mail address
(if you're under 13, have a parent enter for you).

One entry per person.
US or Canadian addresses, Only
Entries must be received by11:59pm (PDT) on 5/13/11
Winners will be selected in a random drawing on 5/14/11 and notified via email.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster and Barbara from Blue Slip Media for this eARC.


  1. Oddly enough, daughter who is most embarrassed by me (hey, she goes to the school where I sing on the morning announcements about overdue books!) is not intrigued by this book. Hmmmmm. I enjoyed it!

  2. Thank you so much for a fabulous, thoughtful review! Please let me hear your daughter's reaction when she reads the book. So cool that you shared that texting convo--sounds like she'll relate! :)


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