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*Grace Notes (faithgirlz!/Blog on!)* by Dandi Daley Mackall - tweens/young readers book review



Grace Notes (faithgirlz!/Blog on!)
by Dandi Daley Mackall
Ages 9-12 128 pages Zonderkidz August 2006 Paperback    

Grace Notes is one of a series of blog on! novels distributed by faithGirlz!, a division of Zonderkidz.

Grace Doe is a high school freshman. She used to be her parents’ only child, but now she’s one member of a large blended family. She feels outside of everything and alone. She feels invisible.

When she’s blogging, though, Grace feels more like she’s part of something. She can express herself and say what she wishes she could say in person. Jane, Grace’s blogging alter ego, is sharply observant and funny. Her readers value her insights into human behavior.

“That’s What You Think” is the one place Grace shines. It’s her blog. She keeps her real identity secret on the blog because if people knew that Jane is Grace, it would ruin everything. People like Jane. They don’t even see Grace.

But…someone knows. He or she doesn’t know who Jane is…yet. But someone knows that Jane’s Typical High School is Grace’s Big Lake High School, and that someone can identify the people Jane blogs about. That someone promises to discover and reveal Jane’s true identity.

Grace has to find out who “The Blog Buster” really is before he or she ruins everything. In her frantic attempts to keep her secret, Grace discovers some things about herself and about the other people in her life.

Grace Notes will engage and entertain its readers, and it will make them think about their own lives. It’s written in MSG (Middle School Girl) language, which is like a secret code, and which MSGs love.

The purpose of the blog on! books is to show girls how to use technology, especially the internet, to connect with each other and build relationships. Grace IM’s with her Mom, who is in Paris. Through her blog, she connects with other kids. Because of her blog, she learns to connect in real time and space, too.

I would have liked to see more emphasis on internet safety in the story. Grace insists she’s “not stupid” about using the Internet, but she keeps her blog a secret from her parents. Her computer is in her room, and she uses it without supervision or accountability. Her parents don’t even know that she has a blog until they mistakenly get a bill for it. Shades of MySpace! Every MSG says she’s not stupid, but many do get into dangerous cyberwaters. I hope future blog on! books give better examples of how to use the Internet safely!

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