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Ask Emma (Ask Emma Book 1)

Review

Ask Emma (Ask Emma Book 1)

ASK EMMA, the first in a new series from Sheryl and Carrie Berk, follows 13-year-old Emma Woods who is great at solving her friend’s problems --- or so she thinks. Emma decides to create a blog for the entire seventh grade called “Ask Emma,” in which her classmates can share their problems and she’ll find the resolution. However, the blog’s reception doesn’t turn out quite as she expected, creating rifts between Emma and her best friends.

This book is definitely fun and full of character. Emma is charismatic, but also a walking train wreck. As a reader, you know Emma’s making cringe-worthy choices by lying, being overly dramatic, or self-centered but you can’t help but watch because she’s entertaining. Emma isn’t a very likable character all of the time, but her determination and genuine need to help others does help to redeem her.

"ASK EMMA is a great story that young readers will find a quick and funny read that also approaches the topic of cyber bullying in a relatable way."

One of the negative aspects was that Emma and her friends often discuss pop culture references that are quite outdated for a middle grade reader. Their favorite movie is High School Musical and their idol is Zac Efron, which would be more relevant to someone currently in their twenties. Another part of the story that didn’t feel current was the way the blog was handled. In 2018, it is incredibly easy for a 13-year-old to create a blog on their own so having it on the school’s website just never felt believable nor did having a teacher post everything for her.

The ending of the novel felt very rushed. I would have liked to see more of the Spring Fling Carnival and have Emma see the rewards of her work more. The story lends itself towards a series because there was a lot left unresolved with Emma and Jax. Emma could see a great deal of growth in future sequels and her blog could evolve in the way it helps her friends and peers.

It’s rare to find a middle grade story that is able to create drama and conflict around a group of female friends that also allows them to reconcile in a healthy manner to support each other. Emma and her two best friends fantastically work together to support Emma’s blog and help their classmates.

This story also tackles cyber bullying in a great way as Emma’s well-intentioned advice blog is not perceived well from her classmates. Emma is very hurt by their reactions and the mean comments she receives, but she is able to move forward and help teach others that mean comments left online still can harm. Her classmates take part in raising awareness about cyber bullying through the Spring Fling tying the story together up in a great way.

ASK EMMA is a great story that young readers will find a quick and funny read that also approaches the topic of cyber bullying in a relatable way.

Reviewed by Dana Cuadrado on May 29, 2018

Ask Emma (Ask Emma Book 1)
(Ask Emma #1)
by Sheryl Berk and Carrie Berk