Summary: Be Real, Macy Weaver
Macy Weaver has trouble keeping friendships, and as readers quickly discover, most of this is her fault. Whenever she meets someone she likes and wants to be accepted by, she starts to copy them — their style, preferences, and even mannerisms — and sometimes pretends to be someone she isn’t to impress them. This usually puts off her new friends. Unfortunately, when her family moves from South Carolina to Maryland, Macy continues this behavior.
Besides her friendship struggles, Macy also has issues at home. Her mom (who’s the reason why they’ve moved — she’s gotten into college) is never home, and her dad is stretched at work and rarely home. At school, Macy weaves a tale of her mom being a fashion photographer and is roped into keeping up appearances to impress Brynn, a girl at her school. But Brynn already has a best friend, Grace, who is unconvinced by Macy’s antics, and wants to get to the bottom of things. How long before Macy is forced to come clean?
While I found Macy terribly annoying for the story’s first half, the writer does a great job of peeling back the layers behind her issues. I also loved the fashion arc of this story and how Macy grows to understand that fashion shouldn’t control us, but rather, we should make our fashion and style. Macy’s friend Pax is a great character who is patient with her and brings out the best in her.
Macy’s mother was an interesting character — seemingly free-spirited but selfish, unrepentant, and just hurtful to her child. As painful as it was to read, her inclusion in the story highlights a different kind of toxic parent (author Lakita Wilson talks all about it in this interview). I was grateful for Macy’s dad and neighbor who looked out for her.
Finally, I loved how realistic the resolution of this story was. I don’t want to spoil anything, but it shows that people sometimes need a shove to come clean.
Overall: Be Real, Macy Weaver
Be Real, Macy Weaver is an engaging, realistic, and creative middle grade novel about identity, fashion, and friendships. This heartfelt romp is highly relatable, especially for kids who think they need to be someone else to find acceptance with their peers. Kids who love crafting and fashion will also enjoy the creative outfits that Macy and her crew come up with. This one’s a strong debut worth reading.