Title: Talia Talk
Author: Christine Hurley Deriso
Release Date: November 11, 2008
Recommended to: Preteens, ages 9-12
Moms can be pretty embarrassing, right? Well-imagine if your mom was the host of a hot TV show and was always blabbing about something you did when you were little (like sticking crayons up your nose or throwing up on your piano teacher's shoes) that was totally humiliating! Welcome to eleven year old Talia Farrow's life. But this year, she's entering middle school, and has a plan: she and her loud, bossy best friend Bridget are going to audition for the school's news broadcast/Podcast program, the Oddcast. There, Talia can have her own commentary, Talia Talk, where she can get back at her mom for everything embarrassing she'd ever done: even if it means blabbing about her mom's new top-secret boyfriend! With school issues, friendship troubles, and family problems, Talia's sure got her hands full...
While I found Talia Talk to be a sweet read for younger bookworms, I found that it lacked a strong central plot. From the beginning to the middle, it tended to lag on, leaving me a bit behind. While I loved Bridget's hilarious character, I found the fight between her and Talia to be a bit juvenile and pointless. Realistic and witty, Talia Talk is definitely a fun, modern read, but simply lacked the excitement and race to the end that other books possess. However, Deriso has real talent when it comes to inventing realistic, unique characters: throughout the course of the book I enjoyed learning more about Bridget, Meredith and Brynne (whose behavior often had me laughing), Jake, Mom, and Talia herself. Our protagonist Talia has a fantastic voice that many young readers can relate to, and Deriso excellently captures how it feels to be the low man on the totem pole when it comes to middle school. And the cover is absolutely phenomenal: I love how colorful and clever it is, especially since it's shaped like an iPod!