Grace Under Pressure: Still Just Grace by Charise Mericle Harper
THINGS THAT ARE UNUSUAL (SOME GOOD, SOME BAD, SOME NOT SURE)
1. Having four girls named Grace in the same class, and not letting any of them use the name Grace. Instead, calling them Grace W., Gracie, Grace F. (secretly named the Big Meanie by me, because that is what she is), and Just Grace. The Just Grace name probably being the most dumb name in the whole world ever, which is especially bad and sad because that's the one that is mine.
Some of our Grace's other absolutely good things are her best friend Mimi next door, her own "Empathy Power" which lets her know when someone else is feeling sad or bad about themselves, and her ability to draw comics about whatever is on her mind.
Then, among the not-so-good things are The Big Meanie, who tries to boss everyone around and persists in calling her "Just Grace" even when there are no other Graces around, not to mention her neighbor Max, the new boy who just moved in on the other side of Mimi and whose ability to walk on his hands seems to appeal to Mimi way too much.
When Grace returns from a few days away with her family to help her Grandma relocate to a retirement complex, she discovers that Mimi has chosen to partner with Max and their former nemesis Sammy Stringer on a class language arts project--and the only group who needs an extra person includes two other Graces, dominated by Gracie F., a.k.a. the Big Meanie. Grace watches her best friend and the two boys happily throw themselves into their project together, and she feels like her whole world is slipping away.
Despite herself, though, Grace can't help feeling empathy with her student teacher Mr. Frank, whose idea the language project is, and to keep him from flunking student teaching, she gets down to work with her group. Out thinking The Big Meany, Just Gracie comes up with the best idea for her group and organizes their roles to carry off a highly successful project. In the process, the Graces talk out their feelings about being one of the Four Graces, and Gracie F. agrees not to call her "Just Grace" anymore. Although Just Grace and Mimi discover that they are still best-best-friends, they also learn that they can enjoy being with Sammy and Max and with the other three Graces as well.
In Still Just Grace author Charise Harper provides a meaningful sequel to her first book Just Grace (just out in paperback). Together with her newest installment in the series, Just Grace Walks the Dog (Just Grace) these beginning chapter novels offer a believable third-grader dealing with real-life social and family situations. Grace's comic drawings interspersed through the text give the books extra appeal and her frequent humorous but insightful lists cue readers to what is really going on in Grace's internal life. Reviewers agree that in this series Grace joins her fictional "sisters" Ramona, Junie B., Judy Moody, and Clementine in bringing early middle graders into the novel experience with verve and zest.