Myracle, Lauren. Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks. New York, NY: Dutton, 2009.
Growing up in a world of wealth and pastel-tinted entitlement, fifteen-year-old Carly has always relied on the constancy–and authenticity–of her sister, Anna. But when fourteen-year-old Anna turns plastic-perfect-pretty over the course of a single summer, everything starts to change. And there are boys involved, complicating things as boys always do.
With warmth, insight, and an unparalleled gift for finding humor even in stormy situations, beloved author Lauren Myracle dives into the tumultuous waters of sisterhood and shows that even very different sisters can learn to help each other stay afloat.
This book is awesome, can I just say that right off the bat? I can relate to main character Carly because I’m also the older sister, and also because after a six week summer program before her Sophomore year in high school, she is a bit of a granola girl. The whole family dynamic is familiar to me, especially the sister-sister relationship. I never knew if Carly was going to be mad at her sister or friends with her, and sometimes it changed on a dime, which is so realistic. Even when she’s pissed at Anna, Carly drops all hostility if Anna is in trouble. No matter what happens, she knows that if her sister needs her, it’s her responsibility to be there.
One of the minor parts of the novel is that Carly and Anna are only one year apart in school, therefore there is some overlap in the kids they know, and the friends they have. Peyton is Carly’s friend at the beginning of the novel, but she’s also friends with Anna. Further on in the story, Peyton starts spending more time with Anna, and Carly spends more time with another classmate, Vonzelle. I could relate to this too, sharing friends and sometimes “losing” them to your sister. Over the years with my own sister, though we are two years apart and not just one, we had similar things happen with our friends, especially in high school when the years don’t matter as much as in elementary school.
And then there’s the boy thing. Liking the wrong guy but not wanting to believe he’s wrong for you? Yes. Having a huge crush from afar and being content to not do anything about it, but being upset when he starts dating another girl? Yes. All your friends telling you one boy is into you, but you just like him as a friend? Yes. These are all things I know very well.
Lauren Myracle has been hailed as this generation’s Judy Blume, and I can see why. At one point, Carly has to explain a few things to her sister, like the terms “muffin top” and “whale tail.” There are a LOT of parts that talk about breasts, particularly Anna’s. I think this is good. Judy Blume is a bit outdated for today’s kids, but it’s important that authors continue writing frankly about things that their parents might not feel comfortable discussing with them.
This YA novel is a great beach read, with short chapters that mean it’s easy to pick up and put down. But I devoured it in less than a week.