Blended

blended-9781442495005_lg

Blended (hardcover)

by Sharon M. Draper

 

In Blended, Isabella, or Izzie (as her mom calls her), is a sixth grade girl whose mom is white and dad is black.  She isn’t sure about her identity, but is leaning more towards black since her skin isn’t white and her hair isn’t blonde like her mom’s.  Not only is she a “blend” of colors/races, but her parents are divorced and each have a new family, so she is part of a blended family.  Isabella is put in the middle of her parents’ custody disagreement when they start to fight in front of her, and Isabella can’t take it anymore.  To top it all off, someone at school has played a racist prank on one of her best friends, and Isabella is sick of fending off comments about her identity as a mixed race girl.  A major event causes her family members to look deeper at their relationship with Isabella and with each other.

What I liked about this book was that it addresses the issue of being mixed race in today’s climate, which you don’t see much in literature these days, especially children’s literature.  It also addresses the bitterness that can come from divorce, and putting children in the middle of it.  I can already think of at least 3 students in my class who will be able to relate to that aspect of the story, although really, it’s the parents who need to read this book.

What I didn’t like about this book was that the issue of rude comments wasn’t really addressed with one of Isabella’s friends.  I am white, but my children are mixed race, and I am not sure if they will have to address these questions.  I’m not sure they’d be offended by them, but that is my white privilege, not knowing and not fully understanding that perspective.

Book 4 of 2019

Advertisements

Still Life with Tornado

28588459

Still Life with Tornado (ebook)

by A.S. King

 

Still Life with Tornado is a strange book, to say the least.  Sarah is a sixteen year old aspiring artist living in Philadelphia with her mom and dad.  She has decided not to return to school since it isn’t original, but we learn that something happened that traumatized Sarah.  She spends her days wandering the streets, following a homeless man, whom she admires and claims is original.  We also follow her at age 10 on vacation with her family in Mexico, where she isn’t traumatized, and isn’t aware of the pain she and her family will go through.  She doesn’t see her parents’ marriage unraveling, and she’s oblivious to the severity of the abuse her mom and brother endure at the hands of her father.  This is an odd read, and very, very sad, but worth it to see it through to the end.

What I liked about this book was the time switching and point of view.  That could make it a little hard to follow at first, but it also made the story more engaging and the characters more complex.  The point of view was mainly Sarah, either present or from the POV of her 10 year old self in Mexico.  A few chapters were from her mom’s POV, and that gave insight into Sarah’s parents’ marriage, which was a major factor in Sarah’s existential crisis.

What I didn’t like about this book was that it was a little hard to follow in the beginning.  I didn’t understand that she was having a breakdown, and I really wanted to know more about the problems of the story.  I had to get used to the idea that the details of the plot would be revealed as time went on.

Book 4 of summer 2017!