Lola in the Middle
Author: Cecily Anne Paterson
Release Date: 15 May, 2020
RRP: $16.99 (PB)
Publisher: Wombat Books
Synopsis: Lola is in the middle on the netball court. She is also in the middle in life… stuck between parents fighting and her best friends arguing. When her netball team looks like they might be in the State Finals, Lola steps up as captain. But she has bigger problems when the doctor says that she might have to stop playing netball altogether. Lola feels like she’s losing from all sides. Can she ever stand up for herself? Or will she always be stuck in the middle.
Review: Lola in the Middle is an excellent portrayal of the intricacies of female friendship in primary school, particularly when your best friends aren’t necessarily friends with each other. Lola is the glue in her friendship group, her family and netball team, and the story follows how her Diabetes diagnosis affects her circumstances in these groups. The plot moves evenly and ends with fast-paced scenes at netball state finals. The rural setting of Kangaroo Valley makes for a refreshing change of pace, and Lola – cautious, rational, and learning to come to terms with her own decisions – is the heart of the story and an enjoyable character to follow.
Middle grade novels that focus on female friendship, belonging and conflict and home and school in that transitory time between upper primary and high school are becoming increasingly popular and for good reason – seeing experiences reflected in books is what makes these stories so relatable.
Recommended Age: Ages 9+
Themes: Friendship, family, navigating conflict, moving homes, sport, health & illness.
Highlights: The netball scenes are excellent – fast-paced, descriptive glimpses into the emotional and physical decision-making made on and off the court.
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