Title: The Charming Life of Izzy Malone (Izzy Malone, #1)
Author: Jenny Lundquist
Published By: Simon & Schuster /Aladdin (2016)
Synopsis: Izzy Malone isn’t your typical middle schooler. She wears camouflage combat boots, the stars are her only friends, and after a month she’s set a new record for the most trips to her principal’s office.
But Izzy’s life isn’t so charming these days. The kids at school think she’s a mouthy misfit, her musical prodigy sister gets all the attention at home, and no one takes Izzy’s determination to compete in her small town’s Great Pumpkin Race seriously.
When Izzy’s antics land her in hot water, her parents enroll her in Mrs. Whippie’s Earn Your Charm School. At first Izzy thinks it sounds stupid—her manners are just fine, thanks—but Mrs. Whippie’s first assignment proves intriguing. Tucked inside a letter is a shiny charm bracelet and instructions telling her she will “Earn Her Charm” by performing a series of tasks. For each task Izzy completes, she’ll receive a charm to place on her bracelet. “Complete them all,” the letter says, “and you will have earned a prize unlike any other.”
Soon Izzy’s adding charms to her bracelet. But when a task goes seriously awry and threatens to derail her mother’s budding political career, Izzy has her hands full proving she’s not an emerging juvenile delinquent. Add in some middle school mean girls, a giant pumpkin that could be the answer to all her problems, and discovering she might have a crush on the boy she accidentally punched in the face, and Izzy may just pull it all together and Earn Her Charm. And she’s about to find out the best kind of friends are just like stars: Bright and beautiful, appearing just when you need them, to shine a little bit of light on a dark night. (Taken from Goodreads)
The Charming Life of Izzy Malone was an awesome read, one that will appeal to all ages and all people. It was easy to relate to and love quirky Izzy, who can’t seem to stay out of trouble, even though you know she has a sweet and genuine heart. Each friend is introduced in their own spotlight, first Violet, then Daisy, and finally Sophia. The way these characters eased their way into the storyline (and into your heart) was so beautiful and I absolutely fell in love with them and the friendships they formed.
I thought the twists were clever—though not shocking, to me at least—and the storyline was spectucular in its structure. Everything keeps going perfectly wrong for Izzy, yet it didn’t seem cliche at all. It was realistically painted and remarkably written.
I LOVED the way Austin and Izzy were done, which, that is, they weren’t done, because they don’t end up dating in the book. Instead the message sent is waiting is OK, which I thought was fantastic and a nice breath of fresh air, separate and different from the immature love stories clotting the pages of most middle-grade novels.
Throughout the book, I sensed that the author was a Christian, and I was very happy to find she was; I saw the threads of her values and beliefs make their way throughout the pages of this book, nothing direct or straightforward, but quiet and subtle. Way to go, Jenny Lundquist!
Wholeheartedly a great, sweet, charming read!
Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
Recommended to: All ages!