Calli: book review

Calli , by Jessica Lee Anderson. Publisher: Milkweed Editions (September 2011). Young Adult Fiction. 198 pp.

Calli has two moms, her biological mom Brandi and Liz. Her moms would like additional children. Liz had been a foster child and the couple decides to take in a foster child, Calli’s age, named Cherish. Right away Calli walks into school to find Cherish kissing Calli’s boyfriend Dub in front of his locker. The next day Calli finds awful graffiti on her own locker -“bulldyke.” Sometimes even her closest friend’s mom seems wary that Calli has two moms. She asks a lot of questions. Cherish said that she’s probably a “lez” because her mothers are gay. Calli plans revenge on Cherish but soon regrets it when she realizes how many lives will be affected.

Calli is a wonderful role model for teens. She’s an intelligent girl who excels in class. She has her first boyfriend and they just kiss. She goes to the mall and movies with friends. Her mom Brandi suffers from Lupus and needs to rest frequently. Liz keeps Calli secretly stocked up on candy bars. Calli’s generally trusting, caring and reliable. Most of her issues stem from not understanding why people wouldn’t like her and her moms who are all sweet people in her eyes. In general she can deal with most of the harmless students at her high school. It’s the mysterious Cherish who stirs up too many hurtful feelings for Calli’s idyllic family.

Author Jessica Lee Anderson writes Calli with an authentic voice. She’s laid out the novel in diary format which is very teen-esque and YA friendly. There’s warmth and honesty in this story about a 14-year-old girl dealing with teasing and insecurity [both hers and others]. Calli thoughtfully and entertainingly zips by from page to page. Calli‘s a solid family story for the next generation of blended and nontraditional loving families.

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