Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Book Review: American Girl Isabelle

Isabelle by Laurence Yep


This was a nice read. I liked that Isabelle's family and friends helped her to fight her nerves by finding calming patterns in her favorite things.


Isabelle is an interesting character and she has a great family. Her mom's talents and encouragement reminded me of quite a few bloggers we follow. My favorite part was when Isabelle's dad's band played and everyone got into the music. That was fun!


This is a really nice story and I'm looking forward to reading the next two. I wonder if this year shouldn't have focused more on her friend Luisa. I'd like to know how her family is dealing with her brother's military deployment and if there are any neat cultural traditions they follow (she is of Brazilian heritage, if I remember correctly). On the other hand, Izzy and I could get together for a nice sewing party.


Love her kitty, Tutu. I could easily picture Jade and Tutu playing/dancing because our kitties do things like Tutu does. I feel for Isabelle...she has a very popular sister and must follow her in school. So many times people forget that sisters have different likes and dislikes and talents (even though they are both dancers). Jade really helped Isabelle remember that she should be true to herself.


Isabelle has a very interesting family - all are artistic and share their talents in different ways. I liked the way they looked at the world around them to find beauty, inspiration, and motivation. I hope we see more of Luisa. I also want to learn more about what Jade is going through because I wonder if Isabelle will be able to help her over her stuff.


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This Girl of the Year story was really good and I am looking forward to reading the next two installments.

Isabelle comes from a very artistic family. She and her older sister (Jade) attend a special school that focuses on the arts. In this story we get to see the younger sister having to walk in the shadow of an older sister, the wealthy mean girl (more on this later), working alone when the supportive best friend is in another class, and a friend who is a boy.

Older sister-within this theme Isabelle works through her feelings of inadequacy as well as a bit of envy.

Wealthy mean girl-it distresses me that the typical "mean girl" is also a girl of means. Not all rich people are snobs or show offs. It would be nice to see more friends like Kit's Ruthie. Plus there are reasons behind such behavior...but I digress. Renata contributes to Isabelle's feelings of self-doubt with snide remarks and name calling. I see a glimmer of hope for that relationship though and hope for a turn around.

Missing supportive best friend-it's great when you have classes with your friends. You can draw on their love and support to keep you strong and on track. Isabelle has this with Luisa. (Luisa has issues of her own.) But when the two choose different dances for the fall festival Luisa must practice with another class and Isabelle loses her anchor.

A guy friend-this is cool! Sadly, I forget his name. He is instrumental in helping Isabelle conquer her fears. His assistance adds to an arsenal of things that help Isabelle through her first major performance.

Parents-Mom and Dad are great. We get more from Mom in this installment. She appeals to Isabelle's creative side and allows Isabelle to design her own and her sister's costumes for their dances. There are a few challenges with the costumes as well. But we can't leave dad out. He also provides a spark to help Isabelle.

Throughout the story Isabelle learns new techniques to get through the times of self doubt. The techniques work, but not perfectly. They too need to be practiced and recaptured. It was great to see Isabelle rise to the challenges she faces; she does so without a lot of external whining. For the most part she only whines to herself and tries to work on her own, but she also open up to others when asked. That is hard to do, but Isabelle dose it and she learns from her mom, dad, sister, friends, as well as her own revelations.

As I said in the opening I really liked this and look forward to the next books.

[Note: From previous discussions in other forums...I'd like more location details. It's set in Washington DC.]

Happy Reading!

Best wishes,


  1. Your Kirsten is so adorable!!!!!

  2. Isabelle is an interesting character and she has a great family. Her mom's talents and encouragement reminded me of quite a few bloggers we ...

    1. Yes, I agree. Thank you for stopping to comment.

      (We'll be checking out your blog; thank you for the link.)