Right before I attended #NerdCampMI I began to hear about this novel via Twitter. It was then a thrill to meet Tricia at camp and I thought it was so cool that she delivered these books herself. I just recently got to the book and I'm glad that I finally read it.
What It Is About: Nella is twelve years old and living her life in her catholic neighborhood and school. She and her friends learn that their school is going to close and are not happy about it. Nella is caught between two friendships. When she was younger, Nella and Angela were "secret sisters" and did and shared everything. As they got older, they each followed their own path. Now Nella is friends with Clem. Clem is quite different from Angela, but Nella enjoys their friendship. Even though Nella and Angela don't "hang" out anymore, Nella is shocked to learn that Angela's older brother has been charged with a major crime. This crime turns the neighborhood and families upside down. These two friends are brought back to together, but is it too late for them to truly be friends.
What I Thought Of It: I have mixed feelings about this novel. There were so many things that I enjoyed about the story, but also elements I couldn't relate to or didn't find that tugged on my heart strings. There are some middle-grade novels that appeal to the adult reader, and then there are some that do not; and I think that was the case with this book. It could be that I'm a 49 year old male reader and not the targeted audience. I tried to read it through the lens of a middle-grade reader, but wasn't sure that worked either. The writing was beautiful, unique, and thoughtful. There was just a lot going on and I wasn't always able to track that plot. I'm still glad that I had the chance to read the story and look forward to adding it to my classroom collection.
Who Should Read It: This story would be best for a female reader in grades five, six, or middle-school. It is a longer story with a complex story line so I would say the reader should be confident and independent. There is a underlying catholic theme, so children and/or adult that have had that upbringing would be able to relate to that. The novel is very timely with current day issues and problems our society is facing so would make for some deep and thought-provoking discussions. Happy Reading!
Rating: 3 STARS out of 5 Stars