Super YA Friday: Cub by Cynthia Copeland

Cynthia Copeland tells her story as a middle school kid in 1972 and 73. A crossroads in our nation’s history as women’s rights, the war in Vietnam, environmentalism, Watergate, and fashion try to distract her from the wild kingdom in the halls of Litchfield Junior High School.

She enjoys hanging with her friends, riding her tandem bike with her BFF, and trying to stay away from the predators, the kids who want to dominate the middle school food chain. One afternoon she visits with her English teacher (her favorite) and Mrs. Shultz hooks her up with an internship at the local paper. Cynthia becomes a cub reporter for a reporter named Leslie Jacobs and this is when her confidence and writing ability soars. They go all over town to report and take pictures of community events. Jacobs gives Cynthia tips and advice to enhance her journalism skills and step away from the fishbowl of middle school.

Copeland continues her analogy of Predators and Prey as she illustrates the social groups and her younger self navigate her way through those cliques. Things begin to change when she finds a mentor and the confidence to not care about the “mean” girls in her class. This is the most important theme of the book to me. Finding a caring mentor and a little bit of help through a tough time.

Cub is a touching and relevant memoir that would be a great addition to any middle or high school library.

5 out of 5 stars

Thank you to Edelweiss, Algonquin Press, and the author for an advanced copy for review.

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