Magenta is a young teen who has finally come to grips with her parents’ divorce; she doesn’t mind that her mother has found someone new in her life, she just wishes her father could move on with his. After losing his job, Magenta’s dad seems to spend way too much time at home or in the public library and not looking for a new job or love. That is where Magenta and her best friend, Polly, come in. They decide to impersonate her dad by posting to an online dating service but things get complicated when a likely suitor responds to the girls’ postings. Somehow Magenta must inform her father of the situation without turning him off the idea of meeting with this woman.
This story is rather simple focusing on relationships within the family and sometimes outside of it. Magenta is similar to many young teens who believe that falling in love will solve all one’s problems; as the story progresses, she learns that life is more complex than that. The family situations in this story ring true with the relationships portrayed in a loving way. This is not one of those wildly dysfunctional families that form the basis of a soap opera; the McPhees are just trying to get on with their lives and be happy. I found this book to be an humorous and easy to read, something that goes well with summertime at the beach. I even found myself smiling at the end.
I can recommend this book for tweens and younger teens interested in humor and real life situations.
Magenta McPhee by Catharine Bateson. Holiday House, NY. 2010. 171pp.