NAME TAGS AND OTHER SIXTH-GRADE DISASTERS, by Ginger Garrett, Carolrhoda Books, Sept. 1, 2020, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 9 and up)
A sixth-grader must come to terms with her changing family life while juggling the social pressures of a new school in Ginger Garrett’s Name Tags and Other Sixth-Grade Disasters.
Twelve-year-old Lizbeth always has a plan, and those plans have usually worked ― until now. No matter what she tries, she can’t get rid of her dad’s new girlfriend, Claire. And when she and her mom move, Lizbeth has to join a sixth-grade class already in progress, where her teacher makes her wear a name tag and she’s seated with three notorious “weirdos.”
When faced with mandatory participation in a school talent show, Lizbeth and the Weirdos decide to create self-portraits. Reluctantly, Lizbeth finds herself becoming friends with people she thought she had nothing in common with ― and coming to terms with the things she can’t control. —Synopsis provided by Carolrhoda Books
The premise of Name Tags and Other Sixth-Grade Disasters is strong and the humor laced throughout is a bonus, but it wasn’t as good as I had hoped.
While Lizbeth is supposed to be a sympathetic character, dealing with her parents’ divorce and bullies at school, she’s no gem herself. In fact, her interactions with the adults in her life make her just as much a bully. Her behavior is so off-putting, I almost walked away from the book. She does grow and learn more about herself as the book progresses, but it’s not a book I’d pass on to my own child when she’s old enough to read it.
Ginger Garrett is a solid writer, and I can see how this book may appeal to some middle-graders, but with so many other good options, I’d call this a library read at best.