A Hundred Things to Love about Hundred Percent – A Review by Carter Higgins

  1. hundredpercent_coverTink, our heroine.
  2. Jackie, a best friend better than a sidekick.
  3. Even when she’s not.
  4. How the book takes a while to tease out the true meaning of the title, but it’s entirely agonizing and fitting and endearing and heart-squishy as it gets there.
  5. That this book is for the true in-between-kind-of-kid—ones who are working out what it means to grow up and fit in and express feelings about boys and girls and parties and kisses and being on the inner circle or not.
  6. Its portrayal of friendship when that friendship is on the outs—the reality that it’s broken and the not-really-wanting to fix it.
  7. But when that brokenness is restored, you don’t really realize how much stronger it’s gotten.
  8. The way parents interact with their kids’ friends.
  9. The way parents relate to other parents, and how kids see more than you think they might or more than you wish they did.
  10. Bra shopping.
  11. Nicknaming friends in ways that stick, whether or not they hurt (and whether or not you outgrow them).
  12. Best friends who look nothing alike, because one got bazoomas and the other has to stuff her Halloween costume with socks to fake it for a while.
  13. Mad magazine.
  14. The unfair fluidity of the social dynamic of sixth graders.
  15. Because you are in the circle or you aren’t.
  16. But when you aren’t, you might make a new friend. (She might be weird, but she’s yours for a bit).
  17. The truth of letting that new friend go when the circle makes room for you again.
  18. BUSHWAH (And Matt Alva, aka Bushwhack).
  19. The bewildering hurt of being barked at.
  20. The confusion of a lie that doesn’t feel like it, that didn’t start that way, that doesn’t feel embarrassing, but that you still feel bad about even when you are the only one who knows.
  21. So you confess.
  22. Keith Kallinka and Will Wheeler.
  23. Insults that aren’t, which makes them both safe and sharp.
  24. That Jackie and Tink talk on the phone each night.
  25. That sometimes they don’t want to, but they still do.
  26. Lip gloss.
  27. Crushes that really feel like they are.
  28. Especially when they are on an 8th grader.
  29. Who might become your stepbrother.
  30. The sophistication of lobsters.
  31. A lobster theft.
  32. A lobster escape.
  33. Families that don’t look the same.
  34. Families that invite best friends over for dinner, even when they run away with your lobsters.
  35. The incredible destruction of a well-placed socket wrench.
  36. A teacher who runs the classroom in backwards alphabetical order, because she spent her whole life in the Cs and had to go first.
  37. How teachers are characterized as thoughtful, caring grownups who might not be cool or whatever, but they are clearly present and hopeful and realize that sometimes you just need to holler BUSHWAH.
  38. Drawing pine trees.
  39. Drawing pine trees outside on the curb during a fire drill.
  40. Really truly seeing pine trees for the first time.
  41. Parents who sometimes do dumb things.
  42. Parents who make up for that.
  43. Chocolate pudding.
  44. Turning twelve.
  45. Being expected to act and look and understand being older.
  46. But you are only twelve.
  47. Moms.
  48. Girls named Mitzie and Maggie and Meghan.
  49. Figuring out how to dance.
  50. Figuring out you don’t know how to dance.
  51. Figuring out you might be too old for Halloween.
  52. Zits.
  53. Unpacking the meaning of words that you’ve heard grownups use before.
  54. Not liking what you learn.
  55. Forgetting that it’s class picture day.
  56. Frizzy hair.
  57. That you have frizzy hair on class picture day.
  58. How it doesn’t matter that your outfit is embarrassing either, because you’re so tall that you are in the back row anyway.
  59. The middle of the back row, that is.
  60. (Seeing yourself in the middle of the back row on class picture day isn’t necessarily something to love, but something that makes me (now me, grownup me) feel a little less alone.)
  61. Boy-girl parties.
  62. Boy-girl parties, and you didn’t get an invitation.
  63. Boy-girl parties, and you didn’t get an invitation, but your best friend did.
  64. And she went without you.
  65. Puns.
  66. The hope of becoming something different (gorgeous and interesting and cool) before the end of the school year.
  67. Clip-on earrings.
  68. Finding something you love by yourself, apart from your best friend.
  69. The uneasiness of being ‘mature.’
  70. Horses.
  71. Not really loving that new thing after all, but you tried.
  72. Joe Montana.
  73. How feeling left out hurts—really, really hurts—and you let yourself feel it all the way anyway.
  74. Libraries as secret hiding spots.
  75. Finding new talent you didn’t know you had.
  76. School Valentine’s Day.
  77. (If that’s what you call it.)
  78. How it’s really hard to find the words to tell your best friend about a new crush.
  79. How it’s really hard to find the words to comfort your best friend when she realizes her new crush doesn’t like-her-like-her back.
  80. The new boy.
  81. Herbie’s Pond.
  82. The complete injustice of being called boy-crazy.
  83. Moms, again.
  84. Iceland reports.
  85. Bowling.
  86. A lip-synch contest.
  87. Finding a new new talent.
  88. Enjoying that new new talent.
  89. Not being ashamed of the confidence that new new talent brings you.
  90. High-water pants, which are adorable in the very best way.
  91. Questioning the true location of your soul.
  92. Being pretty sure your soul is stuffed behind a radiator somewhere.
  93. Oreos.
  94. The last day of school.
  95. A handmade seersucker dress.
  96. A graduation.
  97. A school bus.
  98. A school dance.
  99. A signature.
  100. Christine Gouda, our heroine—still.



Carter Higgins is a librarian at an independent school in Los Angeles. She is the author of A Rambler Steals Home (HMH, 2/28/17) and two forthcoming picture books from Chronicle Books. She writes about picture books and graphic design at her blog, Design of the Picture Book, and you can find her on Twitter @carterhiggins.