Ava XOX (Ava and Pip, #3)by Carol Weston

Hardcover, 208 pages
Published February 2nd 2016 by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
5 Stars

Synopsis: Love is in the air-and Ava thinks she’s allergic

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and Ava couldn’t care less. That is, until a new girl, Kelli, asks out Ava’s friend Chuck…and he says yes! What?!? Ava is NOT okay with this. But since when does she think about boys? For the first time ever, words fail Ava. She isn’t sure what she’s feeling (Like? Love? Friendship? Frustration?), or what “going out” even means. After all, fifth graders aren’t allowed to go anywhere by themselves, are they?
To top it off, Pip’s friend Tanya is being bullied for her size. Ava wants to help-but, uh oh, it’s not as easy as she imagines.

My Review: Ava and Pip is a cute series for girls (9 – 12) about siblings, writing, being creative, looking for your strengths, friendship and more. The family loves words and language. They especially love palindromes, words that spell the same forward and backward. Their father is a play-write and he encourages his daughters to use their strengths.

The main character in the book, Ava, is spunky, very smart, outspoken at times, quiet at others, sensitive and caring. This book has a new set of problems and emotions for Ava to deal with. It is coming up to Valentine’s Day and Ava starts experiencing new feelings for her best guy friend, Chuck. Is this her first crush? When she hears the news that Chuck is suddenly going out with a very bubbly, pretty and popular classmate we see a side to Ava that is not the nicest. She becomes jealous and starts thinking, writing and talking about Kelli in a negative way without really getting to know her. There are also other issues going on with Pip and her friends that Ava becomes involved with and gets her into some trouble with the older girls. We follow Ava along as she tackles serious issues including newly developed friendships, trust, feelings of inadequacy, body issues, and bullying.

These books are very relateable. The problems are real and although not the most pleasant to deal with, children do have to deal with them. The solutions in the story are also ones that would work in real life, although perhaps not that quickly and easily. The characters in the books, including the secondary ones, are well developed and all play an important role in the story. Not only would I recommend this book, but the whole series. They are age appropriate, deal with real and topical situations, promote writing and reading in a positive light and help girls to realize that it is okay to be strong, feisty, smart and work hard to fulfill your dreams. A wonderful series for every family, public, school or classroom library.

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