I must have been about 10 or 11 when I discovered the Anastasia books, a series of rollicking good classics that I still look fondly upon even now at 18. In this first book, Anastasia is a 10-year-old with an unforgettable deadpan and a baby brother on the way; and in each successive addition, she continues to tackle typical and sometimes atypical woes of preteenhood: moving to the suburbs, getting a job, climbing the dreaded rope in gym class, her short-lived modeling career, and naturally the opposite sex. Her sense of sarcastic humor is tempered with very youthful idealism, and above all, she's a real character - no strings attached. If you're a kid or parent who seeks a nice change of pace from overhyped soap-opera stuff like The Babysitters' Club or Sweet Valley Twins (are those guys still around at all?), does Lois Lowry ever have the answer for you! Along with this particular book, I extend the same recommendation to the others in the series - Anastasia Again!, Anastasia At Your Service, etc. And if you can't get enough of her baby brother Sam, check out All About Sam and Attaboy, Sam!