Love: little word, big consequences.
Clarissa has never given much thought to the word herself; she has other things to worry about. Her mother is still recovering from breast cancer, and until Clarissa hears that magical word
“remission,” she doesn’t think she’ll ever be able to relax.
As a distraction, she and best friend Benji try out for a community production of The Wizard of Oz. But sadly only he makes the cut, leaving her disappointed and best-friendless, and forced to spend her time with other people, like boy-crazy Mattie.
When Mattie becomes distracted by a new crush, and Clarissa’s mother starts spending far too much time with her personal trainer, Clarissa wonders when she stopped being enough for all the people in her life. Enter Michael, who seems to be interested in more than just friendship. But is that what Clarissa wants?
Love might be a many splendored thing, but it’s also a very complicated thing. In Love is a Four-Letter Word by Vikki VanSickle, the follow up to her Words that Start with B, thirteen-year-old Clarissa Delaney tackles the confusing world of love in its many forms: family, friends, and maybe even boyfriends.
Last time we saw Clarissa, she was dealing with some pretty heavy issues; her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and her best friend Benji was being bullied (though with a few new friends, Clarissa helped put a stop to that). The issues Clarissa faces in Love is a Four-Letter Word are not as dire, but are still just as pressing. Clarissa might be a little older, and a little wiser, but when it comes to love she has a lot to learn.
What I like most about this book about love is that it doesn’t limit itself to Clarissa dealing only with romantic love. All of her meaningful personal relationships are put to the test: she must deal with jealousy over Benji getting a part in a play without her and making new friends; she must deal with her mom dating and life not being just the two of them anymore; and she has to figure out how the whole maybe-having-a -boyfriend thing works. It deals with a little something of everything and really captures the scary/lonely/exhilarating/baffling feelings that come with change.
Clarissa is a very identifiable heroine. Although she stumbles and makes mistakes (often), she is very lovable. Fans of Words that Start with B will not be disappointed by this next chapter in Clarissa’s life. It’s just as funny and heart-warming as ever. And just as helpful–I know I sure could have learned a thing or two from Clarissa when I was in Grade 8!
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ (4/5 hearts)