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Pink Hair and Other Terrible Ideas

Review

Pink Hair and Other Terrible Ideas

Threats of detention due to her newly dyed hair are the least of Josephine’s worries. Her twin brother, Chance, started the pink hair trend, not as a bold fashion statement, but as a show of support for their mother, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Andrea Pyros’s PINK HAIR AND OTHER TERRIBLE IDEAS is an excellent example of middle grade fiction because it tackles big issues without losing sight of the fact that, even when faced with potentially life-changing news, a 12-year-old will still be worried about the party of the year, the judgment of their peers and whether or not their crush likes them back.

"HAIR AND OTHER TERRIBLE IDEAS is an excellent [book] because it tackles big issues without losing sight of the fact that, even when faced with potentially life-changing news, a 12-year-old will still be worried about the party of the year, the judgment of their peers and whether or not their crush likes them back. "

Since Josephine and Chance’s parents divorced four years earlier, their dad has been more focused on his music career in a city two hours away than he has been on spending time with his children. So it comes as a shock to the two tweens when their mother announces that their father will be the one to take care of them while she is in the hospital. In the midst of dealing with this family drama and worrying about whether their mother will make it through her procedure, the twins are also stressing over Autumn’s upcoming birthday party, which involves the handful of girls invited asking their crushes to be their dates. Josephine is afraid to reveal to anyone, even her best friend Makayla, that the boy who has caught her attention is Diego, her brother’s best friend. She eventually allows Autumn to ask Diego to the party for her, and learns that the world will not come crashing down around her if she allows herself to be vulnerable.

As big of a deal as the party seemed to Josephine throughout the story, and as much time was spent on the build up to the actual event, the scene itself did not take up much space in the novel. This was perhaps a clever way of pointing out that sometimes what feels like a monumental, earth-shattering event is nothing more than a blip in the timeline that does not warrant the stress that the thought of it caused. Josephine learns this lesson in several different ways over the course of two weeks. Not only did the party and her crush on Diego not lead to any of the horrible scenarios she had imagined, but her brother’s decision to dye his hair and thereby reveal their mother’s diagnosis did not either.

Josephine showed a great deal of growth from the time her mother revealed her cancer to the end of the book, when she was able to strut into school with her head of pink hair held high. After having hurt Makayla’s feelings by not being open about her emotions and the issues she was facing, Josephine learned that it is okay to let others in. She also learned, through her brother’s example, not to be so bothered by what others think of her. This newfound confidence allowed her to openly display her support and love of her family, refusing to hide her true self based on how she feels her peers perceive her.

PINK HAIR AND OTHER TERRIBLE IDEAS is a quick, easy read that manages to adeptly handle a wide range of issues tweens face every day.

Reviewed by Kat Baumgartner on March 20, 2019

Pink Hair and Other Terrible Ideas
by Andrea Pyros