Sibling rivalry at its best (or worst),
This review is from: Here's to You, Rachel Robinson (Paperback)Rachel Robinson is too perfect - I like her less than her best friend Stephanie Hirsch, along with Steph's friend Alison. She is incredibly gifted and astoundingly bright. HERE'S TO YOU... was derived from a line Rachel's brother, supreme troublemaker, Charles, said out of anger.
HERE'S TO YOU... picks up where JUST AS LONG AS... left off. With the cliff-hanger ending of the prequel, we find that the best friendship between Steph and Rachel was never really fully repaired, basically due to Alison's arrival. "I can tell they prefer each other's company to mine," Rachel laments. Still, Steph and Rachel are good friends.
If Charles is Rachel's main problem, and it seems as though he is, she should seriously consider herself lucky. Her family was happy until he arrived home, expelled from his boarding school. Before that, it was just Rachel, Mr and Mrs. Robinson, and Rachel's sister, Jessica. As we come to know Charles, we come to understand why Rachel almost seems to fear the 14 year-old. He has a mean streak. He honestly seems to get joy out of making his family miserable. Jess, who has a serious case of acne so bad that it is often painful, is able to live her life normally and have friends, which Rachel strongly admires. Charles cruelly asks, "Do they still call you Pizza Face or Jess the Mess?" Jess flees the room in tears. When Rachel is concerned, he teases her about being so smart in school. "The child prodigy speaks!" he trills in feigned shock. Charles also teases her about not having friends and when Steph and Alison show up, he shamelessly flirts with them.
Oddly enough, no one really sees how wicked Charles is outside the Robinson household. His girlfriend Dana thinks he's sweet and gentle and asks Rachel "to please stop acting like such a bitch!" Charles instantly becomes popular. I think that because of his bad boy image, people are drawn to him. But that image is truly a front. Inside, he is a troubled young boy. His parents are at their wits end on what to do about him.
Although this book addresses less issues than some of Blume's novels, I don't believe authors necessarily need to look for those types of things to constantly discuss. I preferred JUST AS LONG AS... but this book was by no means a letdown. Rachel does, however, have a much easier life than many Blume characters. A troublemaking brother shouldn't get in the way of Rachel's knowing she is truly lucky and blessed with parents who love her and each other, as well as perfect grades in school.