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Random Acts
Penguin Canada
age 8-12
Written by Valerie Sherrard
264 pages

Synopsis from Penguin Canada:

In the haze of a food-induced stupor, Zoey Dalton and her best friends Bean and Jenna make a pledge to begin performing random acts of kindness—anonymously. Their previous track record for altruism is pretty much a flat line, so anything they do to help others is bound to be an improvement.
What if the random acts of kindness are unwanted and misunderstood? What if, instead of spreading joy and good will, the trio’s actions stir up trouble, wreak havoc and maybe even cause bodily harm? That, of course, would be a different story. This story, in fact..

Have you ever noticed moments when you try to do something nice, surprise or treat a person, it backfires? That’s the story behind Random Acts. Sometimes enthusiasm to act stomps over thinking things through.

Zoey and Jenna’s disastrous attempts at secretly helping others will make you smirk and roll your eyes. What are the odds the act of raking a neighbour’s yard turns into a police complaint? You will feel for the girls’ attempts even when they backfire in the most ridiculous ways.

Helping others and making a mark in society is a social movement among the young but Random Acts also touches on the slightly hidden competitive nature of these teens. There’s the desire, in some bubbling under the surface while in others more blatantly obvious, to be noticed for the kindness, to perform more acts or make a bigger sacrifice. Many of us can relate to this internal conflict.

Random Acts also deals with the subject of friendship and new romance. Although the romance storyline isn’t much of a surprise and ends as expected I was pleased to see the author didn’t feel the need to wrap up other aspects of the story nice and neat. Whether your tween is interested in the premise of doing good or just looking for something fun (and funny) to read, Random Acts is bound to entertain.

Additional Reading: Outside In

You can find a copy of Random Acts from your local bookstore or Penguin Canada. Visit our Kid’s Books section for other great book recommendations.

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