Joanna Pearson. The Rites and Wrongs of Janice Wills. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books, 2011.

Few people look back on their high school years without cringing at least a little. Social mores often seem to be at odds with creativity, and your social group has a lot to do with what you experience and how you feel about it. For young women in Melva, North Carolina, one of the rites of passage is participating in the Annual Miss Livermush Pageant. Although Janice Wills, a junior at Melva High School, agrees to take part in this tradition mostly to make her mother happy, she also has an ulterior motive. Janice is a budding anthropologist and she reasons that one way to make the next few weeks bearable is to approach the pageant in the same way the approaches life: as an anthropological study. How else could she get excited about a festival devoted to liver pudding? Just as she begins to develop fascinating hypotheses about adolescents, Janice’s friends throw her a curve ball. All of her “observations” seem to them to be mean-spirited criticisms. Being around her is no longer fun. Only when she takes an honest look at herself does Janice find the beauty surrounding her and the value of livermush-loving Melva.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Children & Young Adults, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Pearson, Joanna, Piedmont

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