“Lesson number one…”
Eleven-year-old Cassidy has just inherited a “gift” from her great-grandmother—etiquette classes. During the summer. This means that prime vacation hours will be spent learning complicated ways to eat soup, the differences between forks that all look the same, and why subjects like professional wrestling don’t count as polite dinner conversation. What’s the point of perfect manners when she plans to set off on the open road and live like a hobo, eating out of cans and learning how to jump off a train car without losing any limbs?
As if trying to remember “dining posture” isn’t bad enough, Cassidy’s best friend Jack suddenly seems more interested in doing chores for the teen-aged beauty contestant who just moved in next door than in fishing down by the river with her. Even her legendary pranks can’t save this summer from being The. Worst. Ever.
It’s time to face facts: growing up stinks.
“Stauffacher keeps her characters lively, unpredictable, delightful, and involved in humorous adventures. Her readers will not be disappointed.Hopefully, Cassidy, Jack, and possibly Magda will show up again in another fun series of adventures.” —VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)
“Readers will laugh at [Cassidy’s] antics, while wincing at the painful slowness of her realizations. The happy conclusion will satisfy readers.” —Booklist
Early reviews from Amazon Vine:
“My grade 5 son couldn’t put this book down. When I discussed the book with him, he said he strongly identified with Cassidy. And I agree, he is very much like Cassidy…eschewing proper manners and etiquette, particularly at home. The difference is, instead of a hobo, my son insists that manners aren’t necessary ‘in private.’
‘But son,’ I say, ‘you aren’t REALLY in private at the dinner table. Your mother and I are right here.’
‘Don’t look at me then,’ he says.
You may already get a sense of what we put up with on a regular basis.
We both found that this book hit exactly the right notes for the target audience of grades 4-6. The writing is at the appropriate level to be accessible without being patronizing or condescending. I think it’s approachable for boys as well as girls, given that Cassidy is a tomboy-type girl with whom middle-graders can identify with. I caught more than one hint of Judy Blume in the writing if that helps, though early Judy Blume. And in contrast to the School Library Journal writeup, I have no objections to any language or word choice in this book. It’s wholly appropriate for the age range and I’m happy my son read it…and enjoyed it. This is a very good story for the age group, one that is enjoyable and fun.”
“A wonderful laugh-out-loud read. Perfect summer reading for 3rd-6th graders. Poor 11-year old Cassidy has just inherited etiquette classes that she has to complete during summer vacation. For some girls, this might sound like fun. But Cassidy, whose goal in life is to become a hobo and who loves nothing more good pranks and outdoor adventures, etiquette classes equal a prison sentence.”
“I laughed and snorted while reading this book. The author does a great job of building suspense and characters. This book is just good, clean fun from beginning to end, while capturing the awkward transition into adolescence.”
“This is one of the funniest kids books I’ve read in a long time. Cassidy has been given manners lessons in her grandmother’s will, but all she wants to be is a hobo. She likes to play pranks, but they must follow the rules of not hurting anyone or destroying property. She is at that “growing up” age where she has started to notice that her best guy friend may actually be a boy friend. The pictures at the beginning of each chapter with silverware in various poses were cute as could be. I would say that this story about growing up without losing a childlike spirit will appeal to both boys & girls in the target age range (and perhaps a little younger). Super cute, laugh out loud, highly recommended story.”
To save other unsuspecting kids from the horrors of etiquette school, I offer you my cheat sheet. It is a very good bet that if you follow this, the bright idea to pack you off to manners school will never occur to your parents (unless they are evil or you have evil dead relatives, in which case I can’t help you). Believe you me, it’s easier to hold in a belch than to be imprisoned in a classroom with no a/c and boring conversation for hours on end. My advice is, be polite and save yourself the torture.