Retro Reads

Retro Reads Thursday: Who’s Afraid of Sixth Grade

When I was in 5th grade we took a field trip to the middle school to see what 6th grade was like. We got to tour the school, see where we would be going to classes, etc. I don’t really remember if I were scared or not, but I remember feeling so big and grown-up getting to see where I’d be going in just a few months.

Perhaps I should have read today’s Retro Read first.

Who’s Afraid of Sixth Grade is nothing like my sixth grade year was. The story follows Skye and her three friends as they enter sixth grade and learn to survive being the bottom of the middle school totem pole. It captures the very essence of being a sixth grader, the awkwardness that comes with developing in er… certain areas, the stress of first dates and seeing other girls developing faster…

Looking back I found myself in Skye, how she acted with her parents and friends. I remember experiencing several things she did, such as that first time changing for gym and seeing the most popular girl’s blue lacy bra and knowing you’re only wearing a boring white undershirt. Or being at the local swimming pool and having all the 7th and 8th grade boys pay special attention to your friend, flirting with her while ignoring you.

But while Skye may not be the prettiest or the most popular at school, or even of her group, I remember her being so realistic and easy to relate to. I felt like she was me, or I was her, or we were BFFs. Although slightly – okay, a lot – outdated when I first read it (the book was published in 1985) I imagine that in the mid 90s not many themes had changed, so although maybe I didn’t get some of the references to fashion or makeup, I totally felt where Skye was coming from.


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4 thoughts on “Retro Reads Thursday: Who’s Afraid of Sixth Grade”

    1. I think more and more places are starting to do away with “middle school” because there tends to be so many problems with it, especially that age group. I know my own hometown has done away with the traditional middle school (grades 6,7, and 8) and has a separate school for 6th graders, then the middle school for grades 7 and 8, then high school. And that’s not mentioning the multiple schools they have for elementary age kids! 🙂


  1. In sixth grade, some of the popular boys decided to start cheating off my tests. I decided I would pay them back by purposely circling wrong answers on the multiple choice section and later going back and changing them. Except I forgot to go back and change them and was too embarrassed to tell my science teacher (I told my homeroom teacher) what had happened. So much for outsmarting nasty 6th grade boys!


    1. I did that too! In 7th grade we sat at tables and these two boys always copied off my work, so one day I marked the wrong answers and then changed them before I turned them in. Those boys couldn’t figure out why they did so bad on the test and I got an A! They never cheated again. Suckers! 🙂


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