Here’s Lily! by Nancy Rue is a well developed pre-teen book for young girls struggling with self-esteem and bullying issues. Lily is an endearing sixth-grader who hasn’t quite embraced her bright red hair or grown into her lanky body. It sure doesn’t help to be surrounded by her nemesis, Shad, and his buddies who seem to enjoy making Lily’s life miserable. Even at home, Lily has to put up with her brothers constantly teasing her.
Lily is noticed by Kathleen, a woman who invites her to join her modeling class. Lily’s encounter with Kathleen seems to be the confidence builder she needs. Lily and her friends Reni, Suzy, and Zooey form the “Girlz Only Group” to empower each of them to make the best of what they have in the hopes of warding off Shad’s insults. I liked this aspect of the book; the belief that you give your own power away when you allow people’s negative comments to affect you. Sometimes the best defense is to just be true to who you are; many adults can even benefit from that lesson.
The characters are endearing and engaging. The storyline keeps you wondering what will happen next. The references to “God” and “prayer” are present in the book, but I found myself wishing for a stronger Christian role model. It was frustrating to me that it seemed the parents were minimizing the teasing Lily took from her own brothers. I just think “home” needs to be a safe place. There are way too many other people willing to poke fun … it should not be tolerated in the home. It is a “realistic” view of what happens in most homes; however, I wanted the mom or dad to take a stronger stance against the “sibling” teasing.
The story takes a turn near the end; just before the big fashion show. Lily is responsible for a serious injury that happens to her father. This could be a bit too much for some young readers. The family pulls together and it has a strong, positive resolution, but it could be troubling to some sensitive young readers.
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.