Select one of the keywords
Flashcards of My Life    by Charise Mericle Harper order for
Flashcards of My Life
by Charise Mericle Harper
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2006 (2006)
Hardcover, Paperback
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Emily shares an unusual diary with readers in Flashcards of My Life. Her mother's best friend (Aunt Chester) sends her a birthday gift of a set of themed flashcards to fill in as a 'fun journaling project' - with topics like Embarrassment, Friends, Regrets, and Kiss. Through them, readers get a picture of Em's life - including the ups and downs of friendships and crushes, her perspectives on parents, frustration with her own klutziness, and nervousness over a first job interview.

Emily's flashcards are enhanced by frequent self-sketches, charts, tables and even mazes. Who can't relate to a self-portrait of 'A Smarter, Wiser Emily' that shows a brain divided into sections that can do things like 'think of witty comebacks in time to use them' or 'control blushing at will'? There's a handy list of 'Things guys do that might mean they like you'. The 'Friend Questionnaire' is a valid one for all ages. And there are frequent tidbits of wisdom like 'Surprises can morph into disasters without warning' or 'I want my wanting world to stop spinning and just be still.'

There are many amusing moments, like the fact that the Novaks, for whom Em babysits, have always called her Kate ... and she's never felt comfortable about correcting them, leading to frequent telephone confusion. There's a funny dissertation on movies, ending with, 'I love how movies give me the power over my emotions! I get to be the boss!' There's the constant awkwardness of Em's juggling her friendship with the two Sarah's with her feelings for her best friend Sandra (who doesn't like the Sarah's very much). And there's her burgeoning romance with the popular Andrew - can it be real, or does Andrew really like Sarah W.?

Emily's Flashcards of My Life make a wonderful middle school coping manual. They're full of the angst - and hyper analysis - of that age range over what to say or not to say or what someone else said, and presented in a very real, engaging voice that reveals the awkwardness and vulnerability of early teens learning to cope with all the puzzles that friends, parents, school and life in general throw at them.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Teens books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews