Jo Waller has three brainy friends, two mostly harmless parents, and one deep, dark secret: she edits Wikipedia for fun. But when her 24-year-old brother moves back home with his pregnant girlfriend, Jo is forced to reconcile the idealized version of her absent, cool older brother with the reality of romantic relationships and the truth behind so many embarrassing health class videos.
With the young couple moving back into the family home, there’s barely enough room for anyone to move, let alone have any privacy. Throw in some major friendship turbulence, a seriously unrequited crush, and a mortifyingly bad haircut, and it’s looking like Jo will be lucky to make it out of the year alive. When you’re a pizza-faced dork who uses Wikipedia as a diary and would rather wear ancient hand-me-downs than shop at the mall, what’s the upside? Jo is about to find it in the most unlikely way.
Title: Something Wiki
Author: Suzanne Sutherland
Source: ARC from Netgalley
Publication date: January 3, 2015
I received Something Wiki from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Friends growing apart is a common theme in contemporary middle grade, probably because it’s so common in real life. It’s something many middle grade readers have faced or will face in the near future and it’s the main theme of Something Wiki. Jo’s upset and confused, of course, when her best friend Stacey and their other friend Chloe suddenly start excluding her and lying about why they can’t hang out with her, but she handles it with maturity. It won’t bring Stacey and Chloe back, but I hope Jo and her other friend Trisha are able to hang onto each other.
A fun and unusual aspect of the book is that Jo regularly edits Wikipedia. She doesn’t just add factual information. In essence, she vandalizes it, using it as a diary, adding jokes and talking about her day and her problems. Other people come along and edit out her additions so they’re never up for very long. If this was widespread, it would render Wikipedia completely useless, but I think it would be fun to come across a random entry that someone like Jo had done this to.
Something Wiki is pretty short. There’s a lot packed into the book, but none of it is touched upon as much as Jo’s friendship issues. The other parts, including the family dynamics of adding two people (and eventually a baby) are much more in the background. Even a lot of Jo’s interactions with Jen, her brother’s girlfriend, revolve around Jo’s friendship problems. Jen is young enough to remember middle school and can relate to what Jo is going through. She also some good advice to share. I think Jo is going to find Jen a valuable resource over the next few years. While I would have more focus on Jo’s expanding family, I could have done without the descriptions of Jo’s oily skin and the popping of her zits. Disgusting.