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American Girl Book Reviews: Lanie

I thought it would be fun if I started to review some of the older American Girl books I had, so I started reading some! If you've looked at my post from Friday, you may recall it had a Lanie theme. So, I figured I'd read Lanie's book for the first time since 2016.

The book was about Lanie's struggle being an outdoorsy girl, but having a family that seems to not support her interests. Her mom and dad both have inside jobs, her 16-year-old sister Angela is obsessed with playing the cello, and her sister Emily, who is a first-grader, is afraid of bugs. To make matters worse, there's a new neighbor, Mrs. Marshall, which doesn't like Lanie, and Lanie's best friend Dakota is all the way in Indonesia studying orangutans with her family. Things change when her Aunt Hannah comes to visit and Lanie starts a garden with her, but all of a sudden, Aunt Hannah goes away, Lanie's jealousy of Dakota grows and Emily starts ruining Lanie's beloved science journal. But Lanie soon learns that she can have her own adventures in her backyard and encourages Emily's interest in science by planting a "pizza garden", inspired by Emily's favorite food. The book, as well as the other in the series, was written by Jane Kurtz, who also wrote the Saba: Under The Hyena's Foot book for the short-lived Girls of Many Lands line.


I really enjoyed this book. Jane Kurtz put a lot of thought into Lanie's character and inserted a lot of drawings and "factoids", as well as science nerd vocabulary that Lanie would use in real life. From a teenager's point of view, Lanie is an adorable character and I really like her passion for science and nature. The plot was engaging as well and seemed to suit Lanie's character and highlight how she would take on all these problems she's handed. The one thing this book doesn't do well, however, is realism. The chances of both Lanie's Aunt Hannah being a real-life scientist and her friend Dakota being in Indonesia to study orangutans are pretty low. I understand the purpose of Aunt Hannah's character, and her career choice of being a scientist does make sense. However, if I wrote the book, I would ax the subplot about Dakota, because having her family not be interested in science is a more compelling conflict and is more realistic than a friend being in Indonesia. I would rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.


Next, I'll reread Lanie's Real Adventures, and then I'll see what other books I can review! Please suggest titles from early 2016 or before, since I have reviewed practically every American Girl book published since then.

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