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A Crooked Kind of Perfect

Middle Grade Book Review - A Crooked Kind of Perfect
By Donna McDine

Title: A Crooked Kind of Perfect
Written by: Linda Urban
Hardback: 211 pages
Ages: 8 to 12
Publisher: Harcourt, Inc.
ISBN: 978-0-15-206007-7
Published: September 2007

Zoe Elias aspires to be a prodigy piano player and holds onto her dreams of Carnegie Hall. She believes that if she can only get a baby grand piano her wishes will come true. She is dismayed that her father buys a Perfectone D-60 electric organ instead of a beautiful piano. Not only does Zoe have to deal with her disappointment she is dumped by her best friend Emma. Before she knows it, Zoe accepts an invitation to play in the Perform-O-Rama organ contest. Determined to do well in the contest, Zoe practices after school everyday.

Zoe's family consists of herself, her mom, and her dad. Mom is always at work and her Dad is a recluse. His favorite pastime is taking mail diploma courses from Living Room University. The times he does venture out, result in chaos. He always gets lost and has to call Eastside Wreck and Tow for directions every time. What is a girl to do?

Friendship is found in the most unexpected person, Wheeler Diggs. Wheeler is from school and his family life is not exactly what you would call perfect either and develops an endearing friendship with Zoe and her father.

Linda Urban creatively brings Zoe and company alive through their quirks and responsiveness to their circumstances. You will be intrigued from the first words to keep reading this fine novel about perception of families and how everything is not what it seems.

Donna is a graduate of the Institute of Children's Literature and is a member of the SCBWI and The National Writing for Children Center.  Using her children, extended family, and their friends as inspiration, she consistently studies the children's magazine markets for submittal of articles and short stories.  Donna also continues to participate in children and young adult writing workshops and critique groups on an ongoing basis to sharpen her writing skills.

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