Review / Ten Good and Bad Things About my Life

20210516ma_1038Book: Ten Good and Bad Things About my Life (2012)
Author: Ann M. Martin
Genre: MG, Contemporary
Sequel to: Ten Rules for Living with my Sister

Basic plot: Pearl is back! And this time, she’s entering the fifth grade. And on the first day of school, she’s given an assignment about her summer vacation. Except, her family’s summer plans did not go as expected. That’s because Dad loses his job and, suddenly, the family has to find ways to make ends meet. Pearl chronicles it all…

Opening lines from the book …
“Lexie?” I said on the first day of fifth grade. “Are you nervous about school?”


1) Pearl has such a spirited and endearing personality. She is just a bundle of energy and it’s great to see her thought process as she says or does the wrong thing and then tries to fix it.

2) JBIII (pronounced JB-three) is back. He’s James Brubaker the Third, but Pearl shortened his name. He’s such a good friend. But their friendship is not without its ups and downs. I enjoyed seeing them weather the tough stuff.

3) I love the relationship between the sisters. Lexie still doesn’t like underwear visits (if you remember that from the first book), yet the relationship has matured. I love how they go about job-seeking together. Or rather Pearl just tags along.

4) The scenes at camp are great! My favourite part is when Pearl is at the sleep-away part of camp and she explains how you have to go out into the dark, dark woods in order to use the bathroom (known as Goose Lodge), something she really does NOT want to do! When she gives an outline of each day of her camp experience, she always makes note of this: Really hope do not have to go to Goose Lodge alone tonight. Or Did not have to go to Goose Lodge in pitch dark last night.

5) This book deals with a dad who loses a job. And no, that’s not really a spoiler since Pearl basically spoils us with this news in the opening lines of the second chapter. I love how the family works together to weather this not-so-good news. And I love how the girls want to help by finding their own jobs! 

6) Which brings me to how Pearl finds a “job”. I won’t spoil it, but it does fit in very well with her personality and her talents and abilities. 🙂


1) We get a glimpse of Pearl’s brand new teacher, Ms. Brody, at the beginning of the novel. I was expecting more about Ms. Brody. Turns out, she’s really just a device. The whole book is basically a flashback for one of those “How I Spent My Summer” assignments. Not sure how I feel about that. The opening chapter made such a big deal about school and starting fifth grade, and we really don’t get anything about fifth grade!

2) While I love the atmosphere of New York City, the staycation fell a little flat for me. They do a lot of touristy things (that most New Yorkers don’t do!), but nothing really of substance happens during these scenes. Really, they could have been taken out and nothing would be amiss.


What a fun sequel to Ann M. Martin’s first book about these same characters. The family has been compared to the Quimby family (i.e. Ramona and Beezus), and I can see their point. Modern-day Quimby family living in NYC!



Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday

14 thoughts on “Review / Ten Good and Bad Things About my Life

  1. This sounds like a really fun story! I like that it’s the second in a series—that’s at least twice the reading enjoyment! I find it fascinating that Ann M. Martin has written in so many different genres—I’ve read some of her other MG books that deal with some heavy topics (like A Corner of the Universe and Rain Reign), but it’s clear that she can also just write really fun MG stories as well! Thanks for the great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I read this one a few years ago. I really loved Pearl too. I hadn’t thought of the Ramona and Beezus comparison, but that’s so true! Thanks for bringing back some fond memories!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, those dreaded “how you spent your summer” papers! We always knew they were coming, so why did we write something ahead of time? (This is something I would have done if I’d have thought of it.)


  3. I haven’t read either of these books, but this sounds like a fun read. I can see how you would be disappointed that this is basically a flashback, but that may be a set up for the next book in the series. I’d be curious what a real New Yorker would do on a staycation. I will try to check this out. Thanks for the review.

    Liked by 1 person

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