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New Firsts
New Firsts
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Reviewed Titles
Claudia and Monica: Freshman Girls

New Firsts

The first week of high school is not what Claudia and Monica expect.

PublisherStone Arch Books
BrandClaudia and Monica: Freshman Girls
Age Level9-13 Years
Reading LevelGrades 3-6
GenreRealistic Fiction
Trim Size5 x 7
Page Count144
Paper Over Board



Library Media Connection - Melinda W. Miller

"This series is one story divided into four books, a hi-lo offering. The stories focus, in alternating chapters, on two ninth-grade girls who are best friends. They have their ups and downs, but they always make up and share those things best friends always share. In the first story, it is the start of the new school year, centered on fitting in and being one of the popular crowd. The other titles continue to deal with school life and teen issues. All the stories are fairly quick reads, none are very deep in either plot or character development. Middle school students, especially those who are reluctant readers, will enjoy them. There is lots of kissing, but no strong language or issues, making these a safe choice for tweens. Recommended." - Library Media Connection

November 1, 2012

NetGalley Review - Chrissy G

"NEW FIRSTS is a cute, entertaining, relateable pre-teen story that will probably speak most to the middle school crowd, especially those nearing the start of their own freshman year in high school. This seems to be the first in a series -- as the end of this book gives a sneak preview to a second story surrounding the girls and the first Homecoming dance -- and even though I'm not the target age demographic here, I'd probably still give the rest of the series a chance. It was a quick, fun story and it made me nostalgic for my early-teens." - NetGalley Review

November 9, 2012

Secrets & Sharing Soda blog - Katie

"This book is hugely appealing because of its tone and its layout. The bright cover and the graphics at the beginning of each chapter - including the full-page dividers between chapters that show little doodles of hearts - are really eye-catching and teen-friendly. These physical characteristics of the book work with the easy-to-read, straightforward text to draw in girls who might typically shy away from books by putting them at ease. It’s easy to believe in Monica and Claudia as real teens with an interesting story to tell because their characters are contained in such an unintimidating package. I also think the author does a great job of capturing the confusion, uncertainty, and drama of the start of high school. . . .Stone Arch Books describes its contemporary fiction as “safe,” and I think that’s a good word for it. Reading New Firsts is a positive experience, with a focus on the good, and the healthy." - Secrets & Sharing Soda blog

August 24, 2012


Books & Reviews blog - Ann Marie

"New Firsts is a rather sweet book about the first week of high school. It follows two best friends who have to deal with a variety of issues, from crushes to mean girls. . . .The story is told in alternating points of views - giving you an insight to what each character is going through and thinking. This makes the story more personal. . . .I would recommend it for tweens and teens alike. . . .Grade: A." - Books & Reviews blog

August 22, 2012

NetGalley Review - Amy Moscia

"It was great to read a clean book for tweens/teens. With working at a library, parents are always worried about content of books for young teens. "New Firsts" by Diana Gallagher is a great choice. . . .Great read, recommend for 12 year olds and up." - NetGalley Review

August 1, 2012

VOYA - Laurie Cavanaugh

"These hi-lo stories of freshman-year romances, parties, shopping, and dating will feed middle school girls’ fantasies about how much fun high school will be:  how charming the boys, how best buds will develop into cute boyfriends, and how said boyfriends will have cars, play in bands, and be stars of the football team, even though they are only freshmen or sophomores. Narrating alternating chapters, main characters, Claudia and Monica, may be familiar to some from the author’s earlier books about the two friends in middle school. Now in their first year of high school together, Claudia and Monica’s friendship is tested in the usual ways—new friends, blossoming romances, the siren call of the popular crowd—but it is never long before they are BFFs again. These short, squeaky-clean, undemanding school stories may engage reluctant female readers or appeal to more advanced readers who will whip right through them. (Covers dotted with hearts ensure that no middle school boy will pick these up, reluctant reader or not.) Claudia and Monica’s interests center around their boyfriends and their interests, with their own friendship taking a backseat, though perhaps only temporarily. Although covers of the earlier books depict Claudia as Hispanic and Monica as African-American, the race or ethnicity of any of the characters is not mentioned in this pleasant but unexciting new series. This is an unobjectionable addition to any middle school or even elementary school library." - VOYA

August 1, 2012


Second Bookshelf on the Right blog - Mai

"It's cute and romantic. . . .Young girls will like this book." - Second Bookshelf on the Right blog

July 30, 2012

Diana G Gallagher

Diana G Gallagher

Diane G. Gallagher lives in Florida with her husband, Marty Burke, five dogs, three cats, and a cranky parrot. A professional folk musician in the 1970s, Gallagher also wrote songs and dabbled in whimsical fantasy art in the 1980s. She is best known for her hand-colored print series, "Woof: The House Dragon," and she won a Hugo for Best Fan Artist 1988. "The Alien Dark" (TSR1990) was her first published novel. Gallagher has written over 70 titles, including books in the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Charmed," Smallville," and "Star Trek" series.

Go to the Author’s Page →