Putting her body in motion before her brain is in gear creates a mountain of problems for 12 year-old Ginnie West. Ginnie is certain that defending her twin brother from the biggest bully in sixth grade was the right thing to do, but she soon finds out she couldn’t be more wrong.
Bullies don’t like being embarrassed by girls at school—especially when they are being abused at home. When Ginnie figures out Pierce’s awful secret, she switches gears and decides to be his ally, because he won’t let her be his friend.
***** Review ******
This is the 2nd book in the Ginnie West Adventures series. You can read my review of the first book, The Secret Sisters Club, here.
This is the second book in the Ginnie West Adventure series, and it picks up right where the first one left off. The focus of this book shifts quite drastically from the focus of the first book, which was Operation: Secret Sisters. To find out more about OSS and the first book, you can read my review here.
Ginnie’s dad, Todd, and Tillie’s mom, Amanda, are now officially dating. The girls are well on their way to uniting their families by the look of things, but there’s not a whole lot of progression about this aspect of their lives in Trouble Blows West, which was a little disappointing.
The first book contained quite a few internal struggles, and a few external character-character struggles because of the internal struggles. This book, though, focuses more on the external, and a different aspect of family life: standing up for one another and doing the right thing.
It all starts when Ginnie mouths off to a bully at school, Pierce…and then lands him on his tush. They both get suspended, but worse, Ginnie embarrasses Toran in front of the whole school. The aspect of Toran sticking up for himself – since it was his issue with Pierce, is a decidedly hard thing for Ginnie to wrap her brain around, and she doesn’t for more than half of the book. That part was a little frustrating, because her father and her just went round and round about it on a few occasions and it seemed to only worsen things for a while.
Ginnie really struggles in this book. She can’t seem to keep herself from opening her mouth at the most inopportune times, or doing something she later gets in serious trouble for…and in the process, hurting and embarrassing Toran. Eventually the two sort it out and come up with a solid plan after Pierce makes a threatening strike against Ginnie.
“Maybe he acts like a jerk because he doesn’t know how to be a friend.” Mrs. Johnson gently squeezed her hand. “The other students like you, Ginnie. If you and your friends were nice to Pierce, then other kids might be as well.”
The drive-and-ditch prank that the West twins cooked up with the Chandler brothers does not go any way according to plan. Not after what Ginnie sees. It is all she can do to run like hell back to the van before breaking down. Then things get real serious with their dad, Uncle Jake and Uncle Ben, all who have weathered that storm before with Jasper, Amanda’s husband and Tillie’s dad.
Tillie shook her head. “You can’t love someone and hurt them at the same time.”
“Love’s an amazing quality, but it’s not always enough.” Uncle Jake hugged Tillie closer. “You know…the truth is, Jasper left because he loved you.”
“Things were s-o-o-o much easier when you guys were three. You didn’t have a problem I couldn’t solve. Right was right, wrong was wrong, and giving you a juice box or a nap made everything better.”
Ginnie grinned. “I could go for a chocolate malt…”
“So you think the going rate for parental guilt should be chocolate malts?” Dad teased.
Toran smiled. “Works for me.”
This book gives incredible insight to one of my greatest fears as a teacher: child abuse. As shown this second installment in the series, it is something that children carry with them everywhere they go and it affects them like no other. It is the forefront in how children build unhealthy and negative relationships, primarily upon threats and fear, which is exactly how Pierce behaves. The West family and friends rally around Pierce and his mother, and I loved the way that Pierce’s personality bloomed and the stark feelings he had when seeing his dad again.
I highly recommend this book to parents as a tool to use with children dealing with a bullying situation, and most definitely to counselors, because the West family and friends show Pierce and his mother how things can change and be different. For Pierce, it is a very drastic change and a struggle, just as much a struggle that Ginnie had in not popping off to him and causing bigger issues before learning his secret.
“When you’re shy and you’ve been hurt, you do worry about getting hurt again.”
“That seems like a waste of time…to worry about something that probably won’t happen.”
“You are one smart girl, Ginnie West. You are absolutely right.”
***** About the Author *****
When Monique Bucheger isn’t writing, you can find her playing taxi driver to one or more of her 12 children, plotting her next novel, scrapbooking, or being the “Mamarazzi” at any number of child-oriented events. Even though she realizes there will never be enough hours in any given day, Monique tries very hard to enjoy the journey that is her life. She shares it with a terrific husband, her dozen children, sons-in-law, and adorable grandchildren, cats, and many real and imaginary friends. She is the author of the Ginnie West Adventuresseries, picture book, Popcorn, and plans to write plenty more.
***** About the Illustrator *****
Mikey Brooks is an author/illustrator that specializes in children’s art. His picture books include the best-selling ABC Adventures: Magical Creatures, Trouble with Bernie and Bean’s Dragons. He is the illustrator of several picture books such as Popcorn by Monique Bucheger, Bongo Flo by Carolyn Quist, andLucius and the Christmas Star by Jim Long. He is the author of The Gates of Atlantis: Battle for Acropolis, The Stone of Valhalla the best-selling middle-grade series The Dream Keeper Chronicles. You can find more about him and his books at: www.insidemikeysworld.com