Life can be horribly unfair, especially if you are a teen. Or so you may think. Sometimes parents can be right, but not all adult decisions seem just and reasonable. Unfortunately, adults usually have the last word.
Cynthia Toney weaves new story lines into Wendy Robichaud’s complicated life. Wendy doesn’t always start in a good place. She can be selfish, unforgiving, and greedy. However, as in the earlier books of the Bird Face Series, deep down inside, Wendy loves widely and deeply.
Her romantic love of David Griffin flourishes into something far beyond physical attraction. Her friendship with her stepsister Alice and her distant cousin Gayle deepen into tender generosity. Her concern for Mrs. Villaturo, who moved from their old neighborhood, drives Wendy to exhaustion as she tries to earn her way to Alaska to visit Mrs. V. and her grandson, Sam. Wendy’s former best friend, Jennifer, returns to her life, and Wendy realizes how much Jennifer still means to her. Wendy even grows closer, mainly through adversity, to her mother and stepfather as their new family gels together.
Wendy grew up in poverty. “Salvaging and recycling (are) in (her) blood.” Her mother had furnished their tiny house with discards and flea market finds. Penny-pinching comes naturally to mother and daughter. When Cathy Robichaud married Daniel Rend in the previous book, Wendy not only gained Alice, her stepsister, and Adam, her stepbrother, but she moved to a larger house and entered a world of greater affluence.
When Daniel loses his job, Wendy shifts back to frugal mode and prepares to earn her way to Alaska. Although shunned by the “Sticks,” her wealthy and fashionably anorexic classmates, Wendy is good enough to tutor one of them, Melissa, on the sly. For pay. What would people think if a “Stick” girl was seen with Bird Face? But word spreads among Melissa’s friends of Wendy’s abilities. Wendy exhausts herself taking money in the service of the wealthy illiterate. What could possibly go wrong?
Wendy suffers humiliation and rejection, but she thrives. She learns to trust, forgive, and share in ways that challenge her readers to grow up and step up. By the last page of 6 Dates to Disaster, Wendy stands taller and stronger in spite of the blows life has dealt.
6 Dates to Disaster calls out loudly for a sequel. There’s a continent of material from which to draw and many new adventures to fill the life of Louisiana’s Wendy Robichaud.
As with the previous Bird Face novels, Cynthia Toney personalizes Wendy’s story with discussion questions and resources on relevant topics. Readers will find ways to open discussion about honesty, dating, underage drinking, communication with parents, American Sign Language, and finding a mentor.
Cynthia Toney and I belong to the Catholic Writers Guild Fiction Critique Group. She provided me with a pre-publication copy of 6 Dates to Disaster for use in this review.