ERIKA J. KENDRICK
Middle-Grade Contemporary / Growing Up /
Facts of Life / Coming of Age
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January 17, 2023
Page count: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 0316281484 / ISBN-13: 978-0316281485
A fun, fast-paced novel about friendship, family, fighting for what’s right, and standing out from the crowd while standing up for yourself.
Twelve-year-old Brooklyn Ace is ready to take the Valentine World Scouts by storm and build her own cookie empire. She nearly won the top cookie selling spot last year and is determined to make her mom—who recently passed away—proud by coming in first this time around. With her fabulous best friends by her side, Brooklyn knows she’ll become Santa Monica’s District Cookie Queen. The crown is practically in the bag.
Then Piper Parker arrives.
Piper has a rich dad, a fancy hotel, and a drive to steal the cookie crown right off Brooklyn’s head. Before long, most of the seventh grade is under Piper’s spell. But Brooklyn is in it to win the biggest cookie war the school has ever seen. With the help of her cookie squad, her rockstar grandmother, her super cool therapist, and a lot of self-love and inner growth, maybe—just maybe—Brooklyn can end up a winner after all.
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Within its exciting cookie sales campaign plot, Cookie Monsters also delivers a warm and wonderful story of recovery after the loss of a loved one.
Cookie Monsters is a warm and poignant story about a twelve-year-old’s struggle with grief and its toll on her mental well-being, as well as an exciting and tense battle to sell the most cookies. Brooklyn is cool, popular, wholesome, and very much a regular pre-teen. From the outside, she appears to be coping well with her mother’s death but inside, she is drowning in pent-up emotions. She is surrounded by a supportive circle of girlfriends and has a loving father and grandmother at home, who are also dealing with their own grief. But as the results of Brooklyn’s loss visibly begin to affect her ability to function, she reaches out and accepts professional help and makes progress on dealing with her feelings. The story also reveals that her friends are dealing with their own difficulties, and Brooklyn is able to share her experiences and help get them on a path to communicating their needs with their own families.
The story is also about a very competitive race to sell the most cookies. Brooklyn’s nemesis, Piper Parker, pulls a couple of rabbits out of her hat, using her father’s business resources and wealth and promising incentives (bribes) to their fellow students to buy her cookies rather than Brooklyn’s. Although Brooklyn cries foul at all of Piper’s strategies, and some were definitely shady moves, frankly, Piper just had a better sales plan and executed it better than Brooklyn did (which Brooklyn slowly comes to recognize.)
Brooklyn’s scout squad is a wonderful mix of different personalities, each with their own strengths that they bring to their friendship and the campaign. Young readers will surely relate to one or more of these great characters and the individual issues they are facing in their lives. I enjoyed this group of girls so much.
The writing and pace of the story are absolutely flawless. I was completely drawn into the story and emotionally invested; I teared up a couple of times while reading, especially when she was making a breakthrough with her therapist. I know I’ll be thinking about Brooklyn’s tale for quite a while; I was that affected. Cookie Monsters would make an excellent read-aloud selection.
With its important messages nestled within an exciting cookie campaign plot, I recommend COOKIE MONSTERS to young readers who have experienced their own loss of someone close to them.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Erika J. Kendrick is an acclaimed writer, a national speaker, and a mental fitness expert. She earned a psychology degree from Stanford University and an MBA from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Erika was an NBA cheerleader for the Chicago Bulls before writing her novels, Confessions of a Rookie Cheerleader (Random House) and Appetite (Random House). She is currently touring her debut middle grade novel, Squad Goals, with Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. The spinoff, Cookie Monsters, is set for a summer 2022 release.
After battling her brain pain, Erika founded Mental Fitness For Life where she launched her latest Mental Fitness book tour, “Who Moved My Happy?” While talking to audiences of all backgrounds and ages, Erika shares her story of brain pain and inspires hope by creating safe spaces for life-saving conversations. She has presented and guest lectured at colleges and universities as well as the US Army and US Air Force, national sororities and fraternities, middle and high schools, conferences, retreats, and national organizations, large and small. Erika has toured with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and is a speaker with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) where she has been inducted into their Hall of Fame.
Erika is a recipient of several “Who’s Who” honors, a Rising Icon honor, and several Awards of Excellence. Erika has taken the stage for TEDx, appeared on Good Morning America – The Third Hour (GMA3), NBC News, CBS News, The Wendy Williams Experience, national television and radio segments, and a host of other media outlets. She has been featured in several publications, including Page Six of The New York Post, The Huffington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and various other magazines and digital media.
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