Bending the Rules
When Tori's parents send her to high school in America, Tori wonders how she's ever going to get along with her crabby Aunt Tessa. But the discovery of a mysterious but talented artist, forbidden rooms, and strange comments from Tessa's parrot all lead to a big surprise.
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ISBN 0307234517 – Although some sites identify the book as for ages 4-8, I think 8-12 is more appropriate. The greatest reason I have for continuing to read Generation Girl books is curiosity. In the front of this book, copyright 1999, is a map of the world the girls live in. The map is cartoonish, rather than accurate, and shows their school, Manhattan International High School, located in the shadow of the World Trade Towers. Beyond wondering how (and if) Stewart handles September 11th, there’s not much here I care about.
In the second book of the series, the reader gets a look at Tori’s life with her Aunt Tessa. Originally from Australia, Tori finds New York suits her. Living with Aunt Tessa, on the other hand, isn’t a blast. Tessa is stern and somewhat sad and Tori’s naturally boisterous personality is almost too big and lively for the apartment they share, especially since three rooms are strictly off limits. Is Tessa going to ship her back to Australia, just to get some peace and quiet? Well, if bringing home a stray dog doesn’t do it, maybe she’s safe. Now all that’s left is to figure out the secret of those rooms and the letters Tessa refuses.
It will surprise few parents to know that the very last words inside the cover are “Check out the Generation Girl dolls at a store near you”. The writing isn’t stellar, although it will appeal to some young readers – and of course, you’ll need to buy the dolls to complete the experience. The fact that Tori is so self-centered that it never occurs to her to wonder about her aunt’s life is fairly true-to-life. Like many other series for this age group, the parenting is almost all behind the scenes, which is just odd to me when you’ve got teens running around New York City alone. Not bad, just average.