It’s the end of summer, and Carly has returned from spending several months roughing it and doing community service in Lauren Myracle’s new book, Peace, Love and Baby Ducks. She is riding a high from spending the summer focusing on what really matters in life, but the wealthy Atlanta suburb where she resides with her family is a completely different world. Making things seem more wonky, her little sister Anna sprouted breasts over the summer and is spending a lot of time with Carly’s best friend, Peyton.
Carly wants to make sure that the difference she is feeling inside is reflected on the outside as school starts, so over the school year she puts together outfits of handmade t-shirts, tie dye, and a dashiki. She also begins to vocalize her criticisms of everyone else, which pushes her sister and friends away. It’s one thing to be an individual, but what happens when your need to be so starts to hurt others?
There is a lot going on in Peace, Love and Baby Ducks but Myracle makes it all fit. The sibling relationship between Carly and Anna is relatable for anyone who has felt need the need to be a unique person mixed with the comfort of having someone who gets you because you grew up together. Every reader will understand Carly’s desire to express her individuality. The romance is just enough of the story to be enjoyable without overshadowing the rest of the story. Myracle even brings in religion – Carly attends a religious school and while she doesn’t agree with everything she hears, she does not doubt that God is found in the way music makes her feel.
Myracle has crafted a couple great characters – I loved Carly and Vonzelle, and you can see that Peyton must be a lot of fun to hang out with. Buckhead, the Atlanta suburb, is even a character of its own. Some of the other characters aren’t as developed. I found myself wishing I could get to know Anna a little bit more, and their mother feels extremely shallow.
The cover is a lot of fun, and Peace, Love and Baby Ducks lives up to it.
3 and 1/2 stars