Lisa Greenwald has a nice combination of things going on in her debut novel MY LIFE IN PINK & GREEN. Put together "green" living to save the earth, the trials and tribulations of being a 7th grade girl, and the financial stress of running a family business, and you have a real page-turner.
Lucy will be the third generation owner of a family pharmacy - that is if her mother and grandmother can keep the store going against the competition of large chains and consumers only looking for one-stop shopping options. She hears their constant arguments about which direction is best for the business her grandfather started years ago. Lucy's mother's objections are that the store is stuck in the 80's, while her mother, Lucy's grandmother, says her own daughter is the downfall of the business because of her poor money management skills. All Lucy knows is that she doesn't want to lose the family business, and she thinks she just might have the answer.
Being a 7th grader is also a challenge for Lucy. Her older sister is away at college, but thanks to Claudia, at least Lucy knows how to look her best and with the help of good grooming she maintains a high level of self-confidence in the face of middle school stress. She has always been interested in makeup and growing up in the pharmacy with its make-up aisle so easily accessible, she has developed certain knack for making people look their best. When people begin realizing her talent, she finds herself running a makeover business that is bringing in needed cash for the store.
In an effort to boost her friend Sunny's confidence with boys, Lucy joins the school's Earth Club. Membership in the club revives Lucy's interest in recycling and promoting some of the more nature friendly makeup products she uses with her customers. When an afternoon of research for the club causes Lucy to stumble across a city grant offering some major money help for local businesses who "go green", she believes she has truly found the way to save the family business.
MY LIFE IN PINK & GREEN grabbed my attention right from the start. Lucy is portrayed a fun, upbeat 7th grader not afraid to test out her innovative ideas. The addition of the financial stress in the family business brings this story into the here and now of our economic woes and will help hold the interest of readers dealing with their own tough times. By adding humor and a bit of young romance, Lisa Greenwald has really hit the mark with this novel. I look forward to reading what I hope will be a long line of her YA work.