A review by chrissymcbooknerd
One Tough Chick, by Leslie Margolis


"You're one tough chick." he said, winking at me before running to his friends.

Disclaimer: At the time I agreed to review ONE TOUGH CHICK, I had no idea that this was fourth in a series. I have NOT read books one through three and I am reviewing this title as a stand-alone since I have no experience with the series.

I was sent an electronic galley copy of ONE TOUGH CHICK by Leslie Margolis for the purposes of providing a complete and honest review. I thought the cover art was adorable and I'm always interested in reading more middle grade fiction since it's not a genre that I have a lot of experience reading.

The story starts with Annabelle, a sixth grader, and two of her best friends having a picnic in the park. A group of eight grade boys come and demand that the girls move, because they *always* play soccer in this exact spot every Saturday. Annabelle stood up to the boys and told them they could just go play on the other side of the lake, which resulted in one of the boys calling her a TOUGH CHICK (hence the title of this selection).

Not only is Annabelle a tough chick, she's ALSO a tough girlfriend -- she finally has her first real boyfriend in Oliver, a cute, popular artist at school who Annabelle has been crushing on for a LONG time! And then there's the school talent show -- all of Annabelle's friends are entering, but Annabelle can't decide on a talent that she could showcase in front of her school ... unless, that is, she brings her dog and teaches him tricks...

So of COURSE that doesn't work out, but luckily Annabelle gets a place on the judging board, representing the sixth grade class as a student judge for the talent show. That would be great except everyone at school is now trying to be her friend, bringing her random gifts and favors to try and sway her vote. And now it seems like Oliver wants Annabelle to push things in HIS favor at the talent show too. And then, of course, her friends think it would be a good idea to arrange it so that each of them gets a prize...

By the end of this talent show, will Annabelle still even HAVE a boyfriend? Or any friends at all?

I haven't had a lot of experience with the middle grade genre, honestly, so I don't know that I necessarily have a great basis for comparison. That said, I generally tried to assess this novel throughout the story by wondering if I, back at about age 10 to 12, think I would have enjoyed reading this story back at that time.

The answer? Yes, probably so. Annabelle is a fun, spunky girl who definitely tries to do the right thing and be a good role model for her friends at school. She does her best to be a serious student, but at the same time she can't help but daydream about getting her very first kiss. (That sounds vaguely familiar -- ahh, the memories!) She's definitely relateable and her story was interesting enough to keep young minds engaged, for sure.

Although this title *is* fourth in a series, it's definitely not necessary to read these in order. I wasn't at all lost starting with book four, but I'm sure that young readers would find benefit in having ALL of the Annabelle stories since I'm sure they work together nicely.

While this might be too overly simplistic for fans of YA or adult fiction, I still found ONE TOUGH CHICK to be a quick, enjoyable read, regardless.

I'd probably recommend this story to younger girls, around ages 9 to 12. I can't see any reason why a little girl wouldn't have fun with this story!

Very cute! If I come across the other three, I'd definitely give those a shot too!