Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Enchanting Review: Access Denied (And Other Eighth Grade Error Messages)

ACCESS DENIED (and other eighth grade error messages)
Contemporary YA
Little, Brown, and Company
ISBN# 978-0-316-03448-7
288 pages
Hardcover—Available July 2009

Rating: 5 Enchantments

Erin P Swift is a 13 year old, who survived her seventh grade year of embarrassing events and is now starting eighth grade. She is into sports like basketball and hockey, IM, building websites in computer club, and blogging. She wants a little more freedom from the restrictions her mother has had in place since she was a ‘little’ kid.
Erin’s friend, Mark, whom Erin had a crush on last year, is also into basketball and they play together even though Kara, Mark’s new girlfriend is suspicious of their friendship.

Erin is trying to get through school successfully, be a good friend to Mark, Jilly, and Rosie, and lead a team for the I-club website. She is also searching for a BF (boyfriend.) Saddled by her teacher Ms. Moreno, with a goal to be a ‘good influence’ on Serena and Reede, Erin tries in spite of her misgivings. She also relies on advice and a friendly ear in Mr. F, the school janitor.

An enjoyable read, this book is filled with the anxieties of middle school along with the thrills of new experiences. I like that the book has some realistic choices and dilemmas in it and still manages to stay appropriate in content for teen readers. Erin combats her ‘good’ image by hanging out with Reede at the mall to pick up boys and going to a party while her parents think she is spending the night at Jilly’s house. While she doesn’t immediately get caught by her parents, she ends up making some regrettable choices and having to come to terms with herself, the choices she made and some grief-making results. Her ups and downs with friendships are very true to life.

Erin is a very likable teen and I enjoyed reading about her adventures and misadventures with both her friends, boys, and not-quite friends.

Denise Vega has written computer books for adults. She has ‘always’ wanted to be a writer and has written several other books for tweens and teens which you can find
more information about at her website at

Kathy Johnson
July 2009

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