HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Going on Twelve: Kobie Roberts #2
Author: Candice F. Ransom
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks, reissued in 1990
Language level: 2
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 11-13
Rating: *** 3 stars (FAIR)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Ransom, Candice F. Going on Twelve: Kobie Roberts #2 (published in 1988 by Apple Paperbacks, a registered trademark of Scholastic Inc., 730 Broadway, New York City, NY 10003). Kobie Roberts, who is going on twelve, lives in Willow Springs, VA, near Centreville where she is a sixth grader in Mrs. Harmon’s class at Centreville Elementary School. Her father works for the grounds department of Fairfax County schools, and her mother has just gotten a new job in the cafeteria of Kobie’s school. Her best friend since second grade is Gretchen Farris. Sixth grade gets off to a bad start. First Kobie hates the fact that her mother now works in her school. Next, although Kobie is the class’s greatest artist and is voted to draw the class mural for the school contest, because of Kobie’s bad behavior, the teacher replaces her with John Orrin, the nerdy new kid.
Then, when the mural loses the competition, the class actually blames Kobie instead of John. Therefore, Kobie and a very reluctant Gretchen decide to play a mean joke on John to get revenge. What will happen? Does Kobie get her revenge? Or might the tables be turned on her? There are a couple of common euphemisms (darn, gosh), but no cursing or profanity. Some readers may think that this book perfectly depicts the ability, inherent in many children of this age, to hold a grudge and blame someone else for their mistakes despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. That may be, but I found Kobie so completely annoying that I could not enjoy the story. She serves as a poster-child for really horrible attitudes, rampant unkindness, and cynical manipulation.
It is true that along the way Kobie does accidentally stumble into learning, or at least being exposed to, whether she truly learns them or not, some important lessons, a significant one of which is that revenge is NOT sweet. However, the way of getting to these lessons is rather long and dreary, and she is the kind of kid that most parents would prefer their children to stay away from to help them avoid a bad influence. Gretchen, who is constantly doubting Kobie’s actions and warning her of their possible consequences, is a genuinely much better example of what a good friend should be than is Kobie. Kobie was first introduced in Almost Ten and a Half, and there are three more books in the series, Thirteen, Fourteen and Holding, Fifteen at Last. If she continues her irritating ways in the sequels, I’m not sure I could stand reading them.