5 Stars Millicent Marie is NOT My Name Karen Pokras Toz Grand Daisy Press No. Pages: 150 Ages: 8 to 12 .................. .................. .................
Back Cover: Twelve-year-old Millicent Marie does not like her name. After all, she was named for a woman who died more than fifty years ago and was not the most loveable member of the Harris family. Her friends call her Millie, but when she writes in her diary she refers to herself as Amanda – the name she always wished she had.
When Millie’s younger brother finds her diary on her computer, he decides to publish it as a blog for the entire world to see, including the boy Millie has a crush on. In the midst of all the mayhem, Millie/Amanda discovers she is suddenly Springside Elementary’s most sought after sixth-grade mystery gossip and advice columnist.
But not all is fun and games, as Millie quickly learns, once she realizes feelings are at stake. Nobody, least of all Millie, expects things to turn out as they do in this tale of friendship and respect.
Millicent Marie is a typical middle grade kid. She plays soccer, has a best friend, doesn’t hang with the popular kids (most kids don’t), and has a crush that could be that all important first love. Like most girls her age, Millie keeps a diary, but instead of a gold-leafed book with a lock so fragile it pops open with a bobby pin, Millie’s diary has a CPU, RAM, HD, and keystrokes. Like some girls her age, Millie has a younger brother and, like most younger brothers, he’s a pest.
Doogle, or Douglas if their mother is around, gets into Millie’s laptop and posts her diary entries into Millie’s new blog Behind the Scenes at Springside School. A blog Millie cannot recollect starting—because she did not. Amanda takes credit for the posts that contain school gossip, an occasional protest, and advice to classmates. Even the teachers read each wildly popular post. Millie is not thrilled, but then gets caught up in the attention (many, many, many . . . emails into her, uh, Amanda’s inbox), and kids were listening to and heeding her advice. Millie had become—anonymously—popular. Millie wants to get rid of the site but is addicted to the positive attention and cannot press Delete Blog.
I found Millicent Marie is Not My Name to be clever and timely. Give a girl a laptop and she’ll throw out that secure diary for a Word document every time. Little brother’s little act of annoyance causes a bigger stir than I think he expected. This was supposed to be a prank to get back at Millie for the things she pulls on him. Normal sibling behavior exhibited mostly while living at home with mom and dad.
Millicent Marie is Not My Name will resonate with young girls. Boys will easily enjoy the story, but girls will understand Millie. She is an average kid who could be any one of her readers. She’s not the cheerleader or the quarterback’s girlfriend, yet with the anonymous blog Millie becomes a star even bigger than that cheerleading quarterback’s girlfriend could ever be. And she has influence. Whether Millie uses that influence wisely or not is part of the fun in this story.
Chapters begin with Amanda’s post for the day and gives a clue to what is to come, but only if you pay very close attention. Those posts do not interrupt the story or jar the reader, as they could have with a less capable pen. Instead, posts and prose all fit nicely together like a jigsaw puzzle, one chapter piece at a time. When shelling out advice, Amanda is gentle and wiser than her years. She also finds forgiveness and mercy along the way.
Pre-teen angst, likable characters, and one literary classic, help make Millicent Marie is Not My Name a favorite of 2012.
Yesterday, Millie’s trouble-making brother, Douglas Doogle Harris, explained to our readers why he is not the bad guy. Douglas’ post will give you some insight into what caused so many problems for Millie. That is not to deny that Doogle’s action didn’t have positive effects. For a great supplemental read click HERE!
To follow the author, Karen Pokras Toz, here is her Internetography