Cover image for My own worst enemy
My own worst enemy
Sonenklar, Carol.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Holiday House, 1999.
Physical Description:
151 pages ; 22 cm
As she begins classes at a new middle school, Eve decides to try to fit in so that her father, who has just lost his job, will have less to worry about, but she finds that being true to herself is really the best thing to do.
Reading Level:
670 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.6 5.0 48334.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 4.2 9 Quiz: 21232 Guided reading level: T.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Anna M. Reinstein Library X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



A new leaf. A fresh start. Who makes up cliches, anyway? What's wrong with an old leaf? Why does a start have to be "fresh"? When something is fresh, don't people just love wrecking it?Eve Belkin is facing a problem, well a number of problems. Her dad was "downsized," which means he lost his job, her family has had to move, and now Eve must begin a new school in the middle of the year. Also, she'd be the first to admit she's never been the easiest person to have around. Eve packs a big mouth with a bigger attitude.But all that is about to change. Because Eve has decided to camouflage herself--for now. She's going to be nice. She's going to be normal. Or at least she's going to pass as nice and normal--even if it means giving up her favorite clothes and keeping her mouth shut.And Eve pulls it off--she invents a whole new image, a whole new person. A new Eve--her own worst enemy.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 5^-8. Eve Belkin isn't looking forward to starting at a new school in the middle of eighth grade, but she has no choice after her father loses his job and her mother accepts a position in a new city. However, she's determined to succeed for the sake of her parents, who want her to be a "normal" girl instead of the outcast she was in her old school. She's surprised to find that blending in to the popular crowd isn't at all difficult, but there is a price to pay: pretending to be someone she's not takes its toll. Sonenklar handles this sensitive topic with ease, and her portrayal of eighth-graders is right on the money. Eve's sarcastic first-person narration more than compensates for the one false note in the story: Eve's father is little more than a caricature of a downsized executive who becomes a frazzled househusband. Sure to generate discussion. --Lauren Peterson

Publisher's Weekly Review

After Mr. Belkin loses his job and the family moves to a new city, everyone in the Belkin household is busy "turning over a new leaf," as Mr. Belkin would say. Mrs. Belkin returns to work in a job which requires a lot of travel; Mr. Belkin becomes a "househusband"; and daughter EveÄformer loud-mouthed cynicÄhas decided to become a "normal" teen ("polite, cheerful, and easy to get along with"). It is not difficult for Eve to change her appearance by trading in her bleach-stained sweatshirts and torn red sneakers for more conventional clothes and "(gasp) quasi-chunky black oxfords," but can she control her sharp tongue long enough to win popularity at her new middle school? The answer lies ahead as Eve pertly recounts her and her family's adjustments to different lifestyles. "Disguised" as a "normal" girl, Eve strategically slides into snobby Lisle (rhymes with weasel) Penfield's clique, yet in order to stay there, the eighth grader must do more than reinvent herself. She embellishes her parents' careers and even pretends to live in a different house (her own is a wreck, thanks to Mr. Belkin's apathetic housekeeping and never-ending do-it-yourself projects). As expected, Eve eventually gets caught in her lies, but instead of causing disaster, the truth sets her free. While Sonenklar's (Bug Boy) moral about being true to yourself is well-worn, her satirical execution of it is fresh, frank and entertaining. Ages 10-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-Eve has three problems: she thinks too much, speaks too candidly, and doesn't want to act or look like a "normal girl." After her family moves so her mother can return to work, Eve's father, who has become a "househusband" since losing his job, suggests that Eve try to change her behavior. She makes friends with the popular girls, wears designer clothes, and acts snobbish to fit in, but finds it difficult to suppress her real personality. She releases her frustrations by keeping a "vent" journal and writing under a pseudonym for a "Mouth Off" column in the local paper. Eventually, her false personality is exposed when one of her new friends shows up unexpectedly to discover that Eve's home situation is far from "normal." Exaggerations about Eve's father's activities are overdone and her mother's abrupt change from "cleanaholic" to indifference about the mess is difficult to swallow. The biggest inconsistency, however, is that intelligent Eve is not able to figure out that her father's request for her to conform makes no sense in light of his own situation. The conclusion, in which Eve goes back to school as her real self and is instantly accepted by a new group, is too easy. P.S. Longer Letter Later (Scholastic, 1998) by Paula Danzinger and Ann Martin is a much better book about a father losing a job, acceptance of self, speaking one's mind, and expressing oneself through writing.-Linda L. Plevak, Alamo Area Library System, San Antonio, TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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