Book Review: Bug Girl (Bug Girl, #1) by Benjamin Harper, Sarah Hines-Stephens, Anoosha Syed

Bug Girl is the first book in a series by the same title by Benjamin Harper, Sarah Hines-Stephens, and Anoosha Syed. Amanda Price adores all things bug-related—from spiders to mantises. Unfortunately, most of her fellow sixth-graders do not share her invertebrate obsession. They’re grossed out by it. Especially Amanda’s ex-best friend, Emily, who thinks Amanda is creepy weird. But when mysterious invaders menace the town of Oyster Cove and take both Amanda and Emily’s mothers captive, Amanda unexpectedly develops amazing insect powers! Newly equipped with antennae and a glistening exoskeleton she uncovers a secret that changes everything. Now Amanda has to act fast or her town and her mom are doomed! There’s just one complication, she needs Emily’s help. Suddenly Amanda’s worst enemy becomes her best ally, but working together may be even harder than saving their town.

Bug Girl is a story that is not just about gaining superpowers and saving your home town. The real heart of the story is about Amanda being true to herself, and finding her way through the changes of middle school, and becoming a superheroes of course. I liked that Amanda faces bullying and social issues, but remains true to her interests and self rather than falling in line with the rest. The fact that her former best friend Emily has falling into step with the rest of the school makes that harder, but she finds her own way despite the loss of her best friend and the teasing that co,mes with having a passion about something that is not approved of by the popular crowd in middle school. Then when the super powers and conflict arise, she just continues to grow as a person, not just focusing on the powers. I really liked the coming of age tale, and the message of being true to yourself. The knowledge that we are all stronger than we know is a strong thread through the story as well. Readers that feel like they are on the outside, different, or bullied (which I think every one feels at some point) will definitely enjoy the read and connect with the characters.

Bug Girl is a charming story with a great deal of heart, and some serious action. I liked the blend of facts about insects and the fun adventure and growth that Amanda faces. I think this will be a win with elementary and middle school readers.
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