Fifth grade is not for amateurs, according to Liam. Luckily, he knows that being more than one-third nerd is not cool. Liam lives in the Bay area near San Francisco with his mom and two younger sisters. Dakota is fascinated by science and has a big personality but struggles to make friends. Izzy, a child with Down syndrome, makes friends easily and notices things that go past everyone else. Dad lives across town, but he’s over a lot. And then there’s Cupcake, their lovable German shepherd, who guards their basement apartment.
Recently, Cupcake has had a problem – she’s peeing in the house. The kids need to make enough money to take her to the vet before their landlord upstairs finds out. And Mom and Dad have said if Cupcake doesn’t stop, they will find her a new home. But the kids will never let Cupcake go. Can they save her?
I didn’t know what to expect going into this book, but I wound up loving it. I knew this would be an interesting read when the first chapter was titled “Pee in the Fridge.”
Liam is your typical fifth-grade kid with typical fifth-grade kid problems. He fears being judged and cares too much about what others think of him. He’s annoyed by his little sisters (mainly Dakota) but also loves and cares for them. His mom depends on him a little too much to look after his sisters, in my opinion.
Dakota is quite the character. She wants to be a scientist and is proud to be a 100% nerd. She is stubborn and doesn’t think about the consequences of her actions. I wanted to list my favorite Dakota antics but didn’t want to give away too many spoilers.
Izzy is a sweet little gumdrop of a girl. She’s super friendly and hugs everyone. I can relate to this. I hugged everyone when I was a kid. I’m happy to have finally found a story featuring a Down syndrome character.
I think I would have liked this book more if it had been told from all three of the siblings’ perspectives instead of just Liam’s. I wanted to hear what was going on in Dakota and Izzy’s heads, mainly Dakota’s thought process.
Overall, this was a fun realistic family story that I recommend to fans of Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume.