Lydia's mom has gotten a great job opportunity and will be going off to England with her two daughters, much to their dislike. One of the good things is that it will only be for six months, but that's still six months of middle school away from her best friend, Julie. While in England, Lydia forms a group of friends consisting of some of the kids on the outer fringe of popularity. As for Julie, she makes her way into one of the most popular cliques at school known as the Bichons.
Using some of what they observed in the first book, both girls try and become a bit more popular - and still learn as much as they can - in their respective corners of the world. I personally love anything that deals with England, so it was really fun to see Lydia's adventures there and the new words she learned. Lydia's particular crisis in this book is that she must learn to accept people as they are and sure, encourage your friends, but don't force them to do things. She also must deal with her mom possibly falling for a guy, and where does that leave her? Stuck in England?
Julie, on the other hand, is doing pretty well for herself - or so you think. She soon realizes that the Bichons aren't that great of people, and she'll have to figure out just who her real friends are and how to stand up for herself.
These are all pretty universal issues, and some of them can take place at even an older age, which goes with the idea that these aren't just for the middle grade crowd. I like that the girls are a bit clueless with things. I don't think they are too "dumb" or anything, just a bit naive. They are kind of dorky girls who really only had each other for awhile, and here they are in middle school with kids from various elementary schools and they have to survive. Well, at least Julie does. Lydia has to make do with everything being new.
I loved that Ms. Ignatow plays with Lydia and Julie's friendship in various ways. They aren't always happy with each other - they argue, they write things about each other (for only their eyes), and they stop talking sometimes. It's a normal friendship that grows and changes.
As for Julie's dads, you see them just as much in this installment as the previous one, and they are just as adorable! I think the author does a great job showcasing various parents and siblings (such as Lydia's sister, Melody). They are all very unique and their own people - but it works somehow, just like with most families!
Reviewed by: Lauren Ashley