My Life in Pink and Green is the shiny, new debut Middle Grade novel from Lisa Greenwald. Name sound familiar? Well of course it does, blogophiles! Lisa is a member of the rockin’ collaborative blog, The Longstockings, where she writes about all things kidlit-related with seven other authors. She is also involved with the Class of 2k9, a group of authors debuting MG and YA titles throughout 2009. (Wow, Lisa sure is popular!)
My Life in Pink and Green is the story of Lucy Desberg, aspiring makeup artist, environmentalist and budding entrepreneur. Lucy’s life is complicated, but she’s the type of girl who just rolls with the punches and isn’t intimidated when she faces a problem. Good thing too, because her family’s business, The Old Mill Pharmacy, is struggling to stay afloat. Lucy’s mom has plenty of opinions about every issue, lots of big ideas, but she doesn’t have much in the way of practical, make-it-happen good sense. Lucy’s Grandma is at her wit’s end and is about ready to sell the business. So Lucy does what she can to make a difference, however small her efforts might seem to the grownups. She puts her makeup skills to good use by launching a makeover business after school, and she perks up the pharmacy when she creates a Relaxation Room for stressed out customers. It doesn’t stop there. Lucy is not giving up on her beloved pharmacy so easily, so she hatches an ambitious (and top secret) plan that may just save the day.
I think Lisa Greenwald has really hit the mark when it comes to Lucy’s voice. She sounds totally like a 12 year old (like, totally), so even though she’s a kid with rather extraordinary ambitions, she always seems like a kid, which makes us root for her all the more. Lucy is a super-appealing character in the way that she just goes for it. Her motto could easily be, “Just Do It.” She’s fearless and she’s certainly creative. In fact, My Life in Pink and Green celebrates creative thinking and just might help kids to feel that they are capable of making change, in their own lives and in the world too.
I liked the way that the story features kids who are exploring how to be activists. Lucy is involved in her school’s Earth Club, and she certainly applies what she learns in that context as she tries to save the pharmacy. Greenwald suggests that change is possible, and this story emphasizes that kids are often underestimated in their power to make a difference.
As well, this is a novel about relationships, those within families, and also the relationships people build in smaller communities as they support small busineses. Lucy discovers that she’s actually pretty good at making people feel good about themselves, and she certainly understands that the success of the pharmacy hinges upon the interaction between staff and customers. She experiences how even the smallest thing – a compliment, a beauty tip, a few moments to relax – can make someone feel more confident and content. Lucy gets the little things, and she sees how those little things fit within the larger goals of the business. She’s a savvy one.
Lisa Greenwald’s debut offers readers a sweet story about a bright girl with plenty of heart, and the novel explores big ideas in a completely non-intimidating but still thought-provoking way. Fresh as a new shade of lipgloss, My Life in Pink and Green hits bookstores in March 2009.
My Life in Pink and Green is published by Amulet Books, an imprint of Harry Abrams.