At the OLA Super Conference, I was drawn to the cover of The Copycat by Wendy McLeod MacKnight. After reading the blurb at the back of the lilac-tinged novel, I placed it in my cart thinking it would be a great read for a pre-teen.
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
A funny, unpredictable, and heartfelt new novel from Wendy McLeod MacKnight, the author of The Frame-Up. Ali has always acted like a copycat to make friends, but when she unexpectedly inherits the ability to change her appearance at will, fitting in seems impossible! Luckily, with the help of her family, new friends, and a touch of magic, Ali might just survive middle school after all. A great pick for fans of Dan Gemeinhart, Erin Entrada Kelly, and Diana Wynne Jones.
Ali and her parents have moved at least once a year for as long as Ali can remember. She’s attended six different schools, lived in dozens of apartments, and never really felt at home anywhere. But Ali’s parents say living in Saint John, New Brunswick, will be different. They’ve moved in with Ali’s great-grandmother—a spunky 99-year-old with a quirky old house that has room for all of them. Ali wants to believe this will be their last move, but everything seems too perfect to be true.
To Ali’s surprise, things are different this time, but not in the way she hoped. She’s finally inherited the Sloane family powers—the ability to change her appearance into any living thing. Ali is a Copycat. Literally. And being the new kid at school is hard enough without worrying about losing control of your powers and turning into your teacher. Luckily, Ali’s new friends are eager to help her use her newfound power. But as Ali soon learns, being a Copycat is no substitute for being yourself.
The Copycat is a well-written story about a young girl who tries to fit in by behaving the way she thinks others expect her to. It is a story about friendship, family, and self-confidence. It is a story that will resonate with pre-teens as they can relate to the difficulties experienced by Ali, the main character, when she tries to fit into her new school.
Ali learns that in order to make true friends, she needs to be herself. This is a lesson that she learns through trial and error – and by making mistakes that many of the readers may have experienced themselves. She learns that in order to form an authentic bond with others, she needs to trust those that she wants to make friends with. She also learns the importance of forgiveness – whether it is forgiveness of family members or of children her age.
The author has written a story that will resonate with her audience in an accessible way. The pace will keep the reader interested, and the characters will be enjoyed by the pre-teen who opens this book.
I give this novel ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 stars
© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020
(This novel was the 36th novel in my book pledge for 2020)