Thursday, 30 July 2020

Lola in the Middle


Lola in the Middle by Cecily Anne Paterson (Wombat Books) ISBN: 9781925563900 PB RRP $16.99

Reviewed by Nean McKenzie

The title of this story is particularly apt – the main character Lola is in the middle of many things. She plays centre on the netball court. She is in between her friends Indi and Tasha, who always fight. And Lola’s parents don’t agree on many things, leaving Lola in the middle again. Along with her netball skills, Lola is very skilled at diplomacy and compromise. But when she develops health issues, Lola learns the hard way that sometimes she needs to look after herself. Maybe the way to deal with things is not always about making people happy.

Lola is in grade 6 and relatively new to the small Kangaroo Valley public school. She is friends with Indi and with Tasha, but when the three of them are together, Indi and Tasha really don’t get along. Lola’s dad is away a lot working on a ship and her mum, who is under pressure with work, is not happy about this. Lola’s relief from all of these dramas is netball, which she is pretty good at. The school team is heading for state finals for the first time, if they can learn to work together as a team. But then Lola finds out she has diabetes, which changes everything.

Lola is a relatable character who thinks about others and worries a fair bit. Her difficulties accepting her lifestyle changes, after her diabetes diagnosis, are quite believable for someone her age. It is convenient that her teacher also has diabetes and can give Lola good advice. Lola’s friends are quite frustrating and this builds up until Lola is forced to tell them the truth. And even though they didn’t win the netball final and Lola couldn’t play the whole game, the team still felt like they’d succeeded, which was a good ending.

This book joins How Not to be Popular and Smart Girls Don’t Wear Mascara, also by Cecily Ann Paterson. These novels are set in Kangaroo Valley public school as well, but about different characters. Lola in the Middle is suitable for mid to late primary school readers. 

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