Chocolate-Covered Baloney (The Confessions of April Grace) is a novel for middle grade audiences, that the author KD McCrite has chosen to set in the 1980s. It is one of the tamest MG books I have read in a long time. For example, April’s family receiving crank phone calls is considered a BIG DEAL.
One of the things I really enjoyed about this book was the author’s use of voice. Even the chapter titles were funny to read: “Myra Sue’s Room: The Pit of the World”, “Almost a Civil War in Our Very Own Kitchen”, etc. McCrite’s use of voice totally had me convinced that I was reading the inner musings of a tween growing up in Arkansas.
In addition to April Grace, the other characters in the book were equally well developed. Of course, as a member of the United Methodist Church, I’m a bit biased towards loving the scenes with Grandma’s gentlemen friend, a Methodist minister!
When it comes to plot, that’s where McCrite lost me. The most incendiary thing that happened within the first few chapters was that April Grace caught her sister Myra Sue at the mailbox removing a package she intended to mail. That really wasn’t enough to hook my interest. I kept reading because the characters were engaging, but the action didn’t really seem to get going until the final chapters.
I also question the whole construct of placing the novel in the 1980s. I’m not sure my nieces and nephews would know what “The Cosby Show” was, or care. The whole concept of soap operas too, might be over their heads.
It’s entirely possible though, that a large part of the April Grace audience is moms reading with their daughters (I don’t know.) As an adult reader, it was fun to read these pop culture references.
P.S. I received a free copy of this book from Booksneeze in exchange for my honest opinions and review.