Isabelle Lee cannot believe her mom is forcing her to go to group therapy. Sure, her little sister caught her throwing up one time, but it’s not like she isn’t handling her dad’s death just fine. Then pretty, popular, smart, wealthy Ashley Barnum walks into group, and Isabelle knows there has to be a mistake. Because Ashley is perfect – every girl wants to be her and every guy wants to date her. But as sessions pass, Isabelle starts seeing the cracks in Ashley’s, and her own, life.
This was a pretty random choice. Some of my students were reading it so I wanted to see why it was so popular. I’m glad I read this library book because I definitely won’t be checking this out to fourth or even most fifth graders. This is a fast-paced novel and very realistic.
This free verse novel tells about when the Ku Klux Klan came to a small town in Vermont in 1924. The story is told through 11 different voices, some of them sympathetic to the KKK and others in great danger from this change. Two pivotal figures are 12-year-old Leanora Sutter, a gifted African-American, and Jewish 6-year-old Esther Hirsh. Although this book seems to be aimed at 5th-8th grade students, since the characters span such a wide age range, it could be used in high school as well.
I’m not fond of novels in verse. I love poetry and novels, but feel the combination usually sacrifices either poetic artistry or the craft of the novel. When I picked this book at the library (SM), I had no idea it was in verse. Once I opened it, the poor book languished, being read a few pages here and there while I whizzed through other books (autobiographies of Simone Biles and Trevor Noah). Finally I finished, then quickly re-read it for this review so I could return it.