Princess Parsley by Pamela Rushby
Scholastic, 2016. ISBN 9781742991610
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. Princesses. Bullying. Alternative lifestyle. School. Markets. When her father falls out with the local council over starting a market on their small farm in the foothills behind the town, sparks fly. He decides to follow the example of Prince Leonard of Hutt River in Western Australia, and declare his farm a principality, separating it from Australia. But Parsley, the eldest of four sisters, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme knows that beginning high school with the name Princess Parsley will not auger well. The in crowd, the Blondes, cannot help themselves but deride, scorn and intimidate Parsley. The market keeps on being successful, helping out other small holdings in the area of Possum Creek, but their neighbour Councillor Hancock is the one who tries to stop the market, so forcing Parsley's dad to take steps.
But when Councillor Hancock's son helps Parsley, the Blondes, one of whom, Danielle, has eyes on him, become even more spiteful. And the lawyer who offers to help the family, turns out to be Danielle's uncle and he wishes the girls to be friends.
Letting fly at drama one day Parsley is spotted by her drama teacher who helps her refine her monologue about the whole situation, ready to present for a drama competition. The situation is very funny, resulting in a splendid interplay of characters in this small community, many of whom are recognisable but still completely endearing.
Parsley keeps her monologue to herself, having her drama teacher help her along the way but when she must perform it in front of the community, her father is shocked and cannot understand how she has been so upset by his decision. The two must find a way to resolve their differences before Parsley can perform for the national competition in Melbourne.
This is a very funny story about families and the effect that a decision has upon one of its members. Dad's decision to leave the Commonwealth of Australia may suit his purposes, but he does not take into account the effect of such a decision on his children. But a comedic situation is able to resolve their differences and everyone is happy. Parsley is subject to some bullying but this is able to be clamped down once she develops confidence in her own abilities. And along the way is a little romance which improves her self esteem no end. A delightful story for mid to upper primary school girls.