Cousins of Clouds

Cousins of Clouds
Tracie's NEW BOOK!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

We are So Crashing Your Bar Mitzvah!

We are So Crashing your Bar Mitzvah!!
By Fiona Rosenbloom

About the book:
Stacy Friedman has just had the most awesome summer of her life. At camp, she and her best friend, Lydia, met a girl who trained them in all things cool in fashion, slang, and beauty. But they’re surprised when the person who really turns heads is their other best friend Kelly who has transformed over the summer. Kelly now runs with the super popular set of girls known as the Chicas and even scores an invite to THE most important party of the year. In fact, everyone seems to be invited to Eben’s Hollywood-themed bar mitzvah except Stacy and Lydia.
            But Stacy refuses to accept their social blacklisting. She decides to crash the bar mitvah even though it is risking social exile. Before the party ends Stacy and Lydia’s disguises will be revealed and a face-off will happen with the Chicas. They will also force Kelly to choose between them. Will Kelly turn her back on her two best friends to be popular?

About the guide: This guide can be used for discussion of the novel with book clubs, classrooms or literature circles. It is intended to delve into the literary elements of the novel including the themes of friendship, self-worth, popularity, and forgiveness.

Discussion Guide:

  1. At the beginning of the novel Lydia and Stacy are worried when they can’t reach their old friend Kelly. What do they think might be the problem? How are they proved completely wrong?
  2. Is your school as clique ridden as this one? Why do you think cliques form in schools? Do you think this continues into adulthood or not? Do you think they are equally hard to navigate for both boys and girls? Why?
  3. Who is Eben? How does he wield his power in the social scene? Would you want to attend his Bar Mitzvah too? Have you ever been excluded from an event you really wanted to attend? How did you handle it?
  4. Lydia and Stacy try to convince their best friend, Kelly, to either skip the party or figure out a way to crash them inside. Is this fair to expect of their friend?
  5. Stacy and Kelly find themselves on the outside suddenly of the scene at school. Their clothes are wrong and they’ve lost the third person in their group. How can the status of popularity change for a person? Do you think in ten years it will really matter who was popular and who wasn’t? Why? Is popularity as important to both boys and girls? Why?
  6. Stacy begins telling a series of lies to impress others. Do you think this technique will backfire on her? Do most kids exaggerate or lie to improve their social standing or reputation? What topics really promote exaggeration?
  7. Describe Stacy and Lydia’s plan to keep Kelly away from the bar mitzvah. Does it work? How does it improve things between the friends? Like their sleepover, what are your favorite things to do with friends?
  8. How do Stacy, Lydia and Arthur crash the party? What lengths do they have to go just to get inside? How much does Stacy spend? Would you ever crash a party? Why or why not? 
  9. Describe the party and how Stacy and Lydia are at first received. How does it all fall apart? What would be the most embarrassing part for you? Does Eben show a change as he’s traditionally supposed to? How do the Chicas talk about Stacy and Lydia?
  10. What surprise effect happens to Arthur’s popularity because of the bar mitzvah? Why does this happen? What connection does he end up making?
  11. Why do people gossip? Do you think kids or adults are worse about gossip? Why? Have you ever been the subject of gossip? How do you counteract it?
  12. Stacy finally realizes that, “ Just because other people don’t like you didn’t mean you were unlikable.” (p. 188) Is this something that you also believe? Why is it so important to feel liked by others? Do you think this diminishes with age or maturity? Why? How do some kids, like Arthur, not seem to concern themselves with popularity while others are plagued by it?
  13. At one point there seems to be a mutiny against Kym in the Chicas. Why? How do some people seem to gain such power over others? Do you think people are born leaders or followers? Which are you? Why?
  14. What is the critical point in the story where things seem as bad as they can get? How has Stacy lost everything important to her? What can she do? What would you do in her circumstances?
  15. In the end how does Stacy make things right with Kelly, Lydia and her mom?  What has she learned about herself and others?

Across the Curriculum:

Language Arts:

Write a series of letters, instant messages or emails between any two characters from the book. Reveal the events and be sure to stay true to the character’s voice.

Plan a lavish event like Eben’s bar mitzvah but accomplish it with a budget of only 2,000. You must “rent” a space, provide refreshments, entertainment and swag for your guests. Good luck!

Create a playlist for your event.

Research the tradition of the bar and bat mitzvah. What elements are included in this sacred event? How does it compare to celebrations in your own faith or tradition?