My babies are most definitely not tween girls. In fact I'm hard pressed to think of them as anything other than babies. But when I was asked to review Danika's Totally Terrible Toss (Secret Keeper Girl), a book for young, pre-teen, girls I jumped at the chance. I figured I'd enjoy a cute story and maybe a little insight to the girls my children were bound to become.
I got the little red book in the mail and cracked it open. The funky purple pages were a vibrant reminder me that I wasn't exactly reading the same kind of literature that I usually explore, but the format, font, and cute little drawings drew me in. I started to read and I got pulled into the fun writing style and engaging story.
The characters in Danika's Totally Terrible Toss (Secret Keeper Girl) are very well developed, and though the description is at times a bit heavy on the adjectives, I realize that younger readers, especially those used to watching TV rather than reading, at times need a bit more help visualizing a scene than more mature readers.
The Secret Keeper Girl series is shelved in the mainstream/secular section of bookstores, but do have a Christian component. One of the reasons I was asked to review this book was to give the point of view of someone who falls way out of that target market. I was a bit worried at first that the symbolism and Bible talk would be overly prevalent, but it actually hardly figures in the story. The first, and possibly only Bible quote makes an appearance on pg 72 and is a valuable lesson that applies to anyone: "He who walks with the wise grows wise." I never once felt that my non Christian status was an issue as I read the book. And I don't think that someone who did not know about the author's background would be taken aback.
Through the telling of a touching and realistic story, Danika's Totally Terrible Toss (Secret Keeper Girl) teaches some valuable lessons on friendship. Most of the tween girls that I know would have no trouble relating to the girls in the story, and would probably enjoy getting to know the protagonist!
Danika's Totally Terrible Toss (Secret Keeper Girl)Pros:
- Well written story with a credible plot.
- Valuable life lessons taught in a discrete fun way.
- Might encourage real life girls to form their own friend club and to develop true friendships that can help them get through the tougher Middle School/High School years.
- Limited overt religious references throughout the text.
- Important words are highlighted by a different cutesy of hip font that helps with reading comprehension.
- The language is not dumbed down, which is so important for language development at this age.
- Secret Keeper Girl website that extends the experience by giving pertinent recipes and tips.
Danika's Totally Terrible Toss (Secret Keeper Girl) cons:
- Danika, the main character, makes a big deal of the fact that her family is extremely wealthy. Some girls might find this a turn off.
- I was sad to see that after a relatively religion free book the discussion questions were pretty heavily religious. Still, I think that a parent trying to focus more on the values and less on the deity would be able to modify the questions.
Overall I think that this was a sweet, smart book that could be a great conversation starter for tween girls and their parents. I think it teaches valuable lessons without being overbearing. I highly recommend the series for the young tween girl in your life.
Danika's Totally Terrible Toss (Secret Keeper Girl) giveaway!
I have one copy of this adorable book to share with you! To enter, leave me a comment below telling us a short story about your favorite tween and her best friend or about your own old childhood best friend.
Tweet, blog, or email three friends about this giveaway and come back and let me know in the comments for an extra chance to win!
I'll pick a winner at random at midnight Monday, November 24.