Jelly
Jelly
Publisher's Hardcover14.44
$14.44
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Annotation: Hiding behind a smile while recording her insecurities in a notebook, a 12-year-old class clown shares her poetry with her mother's compassionate new boyfriend, who encourages her to recite one at the school talent show.
Catalog Number: #205408
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 265 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-499-81006-7
ISBN 13: 978-1-499-81006-6
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2019957989
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
Angelica, aka "Jelly," has a wicked sense of humor, demonstrated in her impressions of her teachers and other adults. She is relentlessly cheerful, turning nasty comments about her weight into mini comedy routines and not letting them get to her. But they do hurt, and at the home she shares with her single mother, she retreats into her poetry, pouring her pain and her serious reflections into poems. Then she meets Lennon, a folksinger who becomes her mother's boyfriend, and she finds a kindred spirit in him. He convinces her that she can be honest about her feelings and that she doesn't always have to express herself through being funny all the time. Cotterill depicts Jelly and her friends deftly, and her exploration of Jelly's feelings is sensitive and convincing and heralds her triumph in the end, demonstrating her newly found self-respect. Jelly's poems appear in a handwritten font on lined paper throughout the novel, which adds to the appeal. Lennon makes a song out of the poems, and the lyrics and music are included.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7 Middle-schooler Jelly kills it with teacher impersonations, but what's she hiding on the inside? Jelly is the class clown living by the mantra: if they're laughing with you they can't laugh at you. When taunted about her size, Jelly imitates a hippo or a walrus. But every jab hurts, so Jelly pours out her true feelings in poetry. With a single mom in the beauty business and a babysitter who creates perfect versions of her body on a phone app, Jelly knows she doesn't fit in. Jelly and her friends don't see any black or Indian models or fat girls when browsing fashion magazines. Jelly, who is worried about her loving but needy mother and feels the pressure of suppressing her feelings, spirals out of control. Enter Mom's new boyfriend, Lennon, and a fresh perspective. Can Jelly find the courage to read her poems in public? Cotterill's novel explores themes of body image, creativity, and self-acceptance. Following the emotional growth of a girl whose observational skills are both a gift and a curse, Jelly's poetry is an important outlet and a stark contrast to her outward clowning. The relationship between mother and daughter feels real: Jelly's mom can't hide her hang-ups about Jelly's body even as she struggles to love her daughter unconditionally. Readers will cheer for Jelly and her mom as they find the strength to stand up to a bigoted grandfather. While Lennon brings the promise of salvation, it is Jelly and her mom who begin to shape their own destinies. VERDICT An engaging story about body image, family dynamics, and the power of poetry. Sarah Webb, City and Country School Library, NY
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (1/1/20)
School Library Journal (1/1/20)
Reading Level: 4.0
Interest Level: 5-9

"A sympathetic portrayal of adolescent angst with a feel-good resolution." —Kirkus Reviews

"An engaging story about body image, family dynamics, and the power of poetry."—School Library Journal

"Cotterill depicts Jelly and her friends deftly, and her exploration of Jelly's feelings is sensitive and convincing and heralds her triumph in the end, demonstrating her newly found self-respect."—Booklist

Twelve-year-old Jelly hides her true self behind her humor and keeps her true thoughts and feelings locked away in a notebook. Can she find the courage to share who she really is?


Angelica (Jelly for short) is the queen of comedy at school. She has a personality as big as she is, and everyone loves her impressions. But Jelly isn't as confident as she pretends to be. No one knows her deepest thoughts and feelings. She keeps those hidden away in a secret notebook.

Then her mom's new boyfriend, Lennon, arrives. He's kind and perceptive, and he is the first person to realize that Jelly is playing a part. Jelly shares her poetry with him and he convinces her to perform one of her poems as a song at the school talent show. Can Jelly risk letting people see the real her? What if it all goes wrong?


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