Evie’s new neighbor Francesca is a free spirit who wears wild clothes, always seems to be upbeat, and has her own ideas about the importance of homework. First thrown together by Evie’s mom and Francesca’s aunt, the two of them soon bond over a school project and a little matchmaking. But Evie’s long time friends feel she’s abandoned them; they don’t trust Francesca and they want Evie back just like she was.
This is Me from Now On by Barbara Dee is a snapshot of Evie’s life at the start of seventh grade. She’s no longer happy with the status quo, and in fact, one of her teacher’s says it appears she needs to break out of the rut she was in the year before.
But Evie finds that making changes can be confusing. How much of her own free spirit can she tap into without going further than she’s comfortable with? How can she let her best friends know she wants to be on more equal footing with them without seeming as though she’s rejecting them outright? How can she get the attention of a boy she likes and go out with him when her parents don’t think she’s ready to date?
This is Me from Now On takes on a confusing pre-teen time of life and turns into a witty, charming story focused on the possibilities of reinventing yourself. Evie learns how to keep what she’s always liked about herself while learning to take a few more chances and open up to new experiences. In the process she learns a lot about herself and a lot about her friends. Check out Dee’s discussion questions on her website for ideas about what to talk about when you read this book. I highly recommend it for mother-daughter book clubs with girls aged 9 to 13.