The Invisible Rules of the Zoë Lama by Tish Cohen.
Dutton Children's Books/Penguin Group: NY, 2007.

Zoë Costella, nicknamed the Zoë Lama for taking on the playground bully, has made a career for herself fixing other people's lives. She's a little controlling and judgmental, but kind-hearted in her efforts. This year she has taken on too much with the ever-present need to assist her single, working mom and grandma who is losing out to dementia. There is also a new girl whom Zoë believes needs major help and a school dance to manage. She's feeling desperate when her mom starts to talk nursing homes, since Grandma has been there forever to listen and share time with her. Noticing Grandma's peculiar behavior, she hides the situation from Mom and friends as long as possible. In the end, she starts to see that many of Grandma's colorful statements are plenty sane, but her drifting in and out of reality is causing dangerous and expensive problems.

The book is a little chatty, but a quick, fun read. The first half is mostly humor. Then it gets into Zoë's lessons in acceptance. While she was working from a sincere desire to help, her Grandma helps her realize it's sometimes better to let friends be themselves.

related-identity, acceptance, interpersonal relations, middle schools, grandmothers, family, Alzheimer's
RL=6th & up

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