My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR
Recommended Age: 7+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction, Friendship, School, Family History, American History
With Jewell Parker Rhodes, you don’t have to wonder. You don’t have to question whether the book is worth buying, reading, holding in your hands. There is no reason to pause and squint your eyes. Because you just know that this author will deliver a meaningful story with memorable protagonists and an affective atmosphere.
This is about Dèja, a girl from a homeless family whose mother is trying to keep the family afloat and whose father is struggling with mental health issues. She feels different and isn’t sure she’ll ever fit in or be able to connect with others at her new school, but luckily she makes two good friends—Ben and Sabeen.
Their teacher asks them to find out more about the two towers that used to exist in New York City but aren’t there anymore. Dèja, Ben and Sabeen are working together on this assignment, learning more about each other in process, and in Dèja’s case, about her own family’s history as it connected to the Twin Towers.
This is a story that reads extremely well. I wouldn’t hesitate to lend it to a middle school kid who is curious about American History or is looking for a well told tale with interesting and surprising events. As always, gorgeous writing style. The author successfully made accessible an ‘‘adult’’ topic to a young audience, proving that it can be done and may not be such an ‘‘adult’’ topic after all.
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