Newbery Pie

A review site


June 2014

The Waterless Mountain: the 1932 Newbery Winner

Jake and I (Benji) were supposed to be reading and reviewing Bridge to Terabithia, but Jake had trouble getting a copy on short notice, so I read this one by myself in the meantime. I found myself wishing that I was rereading Terabithia very often.

If you’re reading the Newbery Winners through from the beginning, only a decade in you’ve already visited South America in Tales From SIlver Lands, China in Shen of the Sea, India in Gay Neck, Poland in Trumpeter of Krakow, Japan in The Cat Who Went to Heaven and now, in The Waterless Mountain, you’re visiting the Navaho tribes in the Western U.S. Despite, the racism in many of the novels, it does seem like the librarians on the committees in the 20’s and the 30’s were being proactive about exposing children to new cultures. Really, the #weneeddiversebooks campaign has been going on, though subtly, for quite a while.

That being said, this book is nice at some points. It’s interesting to see Navaho culture and customs through a young boy’s eyes, but mostly it’s just awful and unreadable. For a 200 page book, it reads incredibly slow. There’s a little bit of action in the middle, but it is resolved very passively in a “Meanwhile while life was going on as usual, our villain was arrested somewhere else” kind of way. That’s no way to write a book for children. I had lots of trouble getting through this book, and it seems from reviews that other adult readers did too. I could be wrong, but I don’t think I know of any kids who would enjoy this.

While I appreciate the early Newbery committees making an effort to expose kids to new cultures, I wish that a lot of the  books weren’t so gosh-darned awful. Next book please.

2 out of five Newbery Pies.


Amos Fortune Free Man: The 1951 winner.

This week, we’re discussing Amos Fortune Free Man, by Elizabeth Yates or “Famous Amos” as I’ve been referring to it the last two days.

Jake’s Review: Amos Fortune: Free Man is the story of a slave, the 1951 Newbery winner, and a reminder of how  – what’s the word? – stupid our country was (in fact, if ignorance is based on wide-spread mistreatment of other races, then our country has only been semi-intelligent for roughly forty of the roughly 240 years  that the United States, as we know it, has existed). More specifically, “Amos Fortune” is the story of a fifteen-year-old African king stripped from his small tribal home and sold into slavery in Boston where he is “fortunate” to have two kind masters and eventually earn his freedom. More of a brief summary of Amos‘s life, it lacks the driving suspense a more time-focused story might have. Furthermore, this means the text consists less dialogue and more large, clunky paragraphs summarizing parts of Amos‘s life. In fact, one chapter covers forty years. For this reason, I don’t believe the story possesses the attractiveness of a modern Newbery, nor would it even to a child in 1951. I would, however, have no problem recommending this book to an adolescent who is an avid reader but not quite skilled enough to read “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas”.

This doesn’t mean there aren’t some attractive features about this novel. Though Amos is a fairly flat protagonist, one can’t help but fall in love with his good-natured disposition, his desire to comfort others in harsher circumstances, and give freedom to others by buying them from their masters. Due to his moral uprightness, he is much like an Atticus-type character. An interesting thematic idea in the story is “freedom”. Sold into slavery in 1725, Amos is sixty-five-years-old when when the white citizens around him begin to discuss their freedom from Britain. Always, there is the contrast between the white man’s “deserved liberty” and the black man’s lack of such, simply because of his skin color.
An interesting overview but possessing a very mundane style and little to no suspense, “Amos Fortune” is, at best, decent but nothing earth-shattering, surrounded by much better literature in its genre. Benji and I both found ourselves wondering what the author’s purpose was, why this story needed to be told. Amos was one of the only slaves that constantly found himself serving under benevolent masters. This and other elements of the story seem to take the spotlight off how bad slavery was and, in fact, made it seem pretty okay. I think 2.5 Newbery pies is generous, and I’m feeling generous today.
Benji’s Review: Let me start out by saying that I think the children on the 1950s must have been very confused about slavery. First they get the movie The Song of the South which came out in 1946. They see Uncle Remus whistling with the bluebirds, singing songs and telling stories all the time. Seems like a pretty good life. Then in 1950 Amos Fortune comes out. It’s the story of an African prince who was kidnapped by slavers, taken across the ocean and sold into a Quaker community. He never had a cruel master, was able to earn his freedom, and became a respectable member of his community. Not so bad, right. Slavery must have been ok, right?
I get that maybe Elizabeth Yates found some documents about Amos Fortune, was fascinated and decided to write a psedo-biography, half-fiction half-fact novel, but Amos Fortune was in a very small minority group. Quakers didn’t believe that slavery was right, so very few of them owned slaves. The odds of a slave being sold to a kind Quaker man were very low. The story is a very poor representation about what American slavery was like, and when you’re writing for children, you have to keep impressions in mind. This could have been the very first slavery story that many children of the 50’s read, and the impression they probably took away from the book was a positive one.
That being said, I didn’t think the book overall was very good. A story about a slave with a decent life becoming a free man isn’t very exciting. There wasn’t a whole lot of conflict going on.  The main character was incredibly flat. He was a really good guy, but really good guys living peaceful lives make terrible stories.The author was unnecessarily descriptive at times. I couldn’t help but wonder why I was getting detailed descriptions of the African jungle vegetation as Amos was being dragged from his home.
There was one chapter that I thought I liked at first. It was the last one. Amos gets ripped off by a white man who won’t pay him  the whole price for his work. Amos, a man who has been kidnapped and owned by several men in his life, gets angry for the first time in the book. Then he decides that anger is just another form of slavery and lets it go. There was probably a moral or something there, but I was just excited that our main character was finally getting into some conflict, and was finally going to stick it to the man, and would probably pay for it, but at least he would have fought. Then he just lets it go, and the last chapter ended up being as disappointing as the rest of the book.
I disagree with Jake. I would never recommend this book to a student. There are several other, better novels about slavery and freedom out there, starting with Christopher Paul Curtis’  Newbery Honor winner, Elijah of Buxton.
Good news is, it wasn’t very long and we can move on to the next book now.
2 out of five Newbery pies.
Next up: Bridge to Terabithia

The Cat Who Went to Heaven: The 1931 Winner

I (Benji) have a sort of complex. I  have to be a diligent reader. I have to read a lot, and more than most people around me. I feel like it’s part of my job as a school librarian, (I can’t really recommend what I haven’t read) but mostly at this point, it’s part of who I am. I don’t really want to get too deep into it, but anyways, I felt kind of bad for not getting Holes reread with Jake, so to make up for it, I put the ukelele down for an evening, and devoured one of the shorter Newbery winners The Cat Who Went to Heaven, in one sitting. So, tonight, you get two servings of Newbery Pie, even if you’re not really craving it.

The Cat Who Went to Heaven did something pretty interesting. It wove a decently interesting biography of Buddah into a not-at-all interesting story about an artist painting Buddah’s death for the local temple. There were some good points, but it wasn’t really that exiting of a book. My favorite part was the end. The cat randomly drops dead from joy when the author paints him into the picture, even though he wasn’t supposed to. I just sat there thinking. “So, yeah. That really just happened. The cat just dropped over dead.” It was great.

Most Newbery travelers will be relieved to have a sixty page book after some of the doozies from the 20’s. I for one, was relieved to read a book by an American that treated a foreign culture with respect and interest. For that reason, I give it three Newbery Pies instead of the two it probably deserves.

Holes: The 1999 Winner

Sachar_-_Holes_CoverartBenji’s “Review”: Jake is the Newbery Pie hero this week. The plan was for me to finish a recently published book, Nevergrim, by Matthew Jobin while Jake was reading Holes, and hopefully reread through Holes pretty quickly, since I had read it before. Well, Nethergrim took me longer than expected, and I’m trying to learn to play the ukelele, so I  spent several hours this week  trying to learn how to switch from an f to a blasted g chord, (unsuccessfully I might add) when I would normally be reading. Anyways, I failed. I did not get Holes reread. I have read it before, so I don’t feel too bad, and I can still mark it off of the Newbery challenge but it has been years, so I’m not going to attempt a real review. I gave it four out of five stars on Goodreads, but I have very fond memories of the book, and I definitely have it in my top five Newberys of all time.

Four out of five Newbery Pies

Jake’s Review: I thought the Disney TV show, Even Stevens, was one of the only funny shows on the Disney channel, mostly because Shia Lebouf was a gifted and hilarious young actor (not to say bacon-loving Beans didn’t help). So when I saw he’d be starring in this movie, Holes, I thought, “Sure, why not?” and was equally pleased with how good a live-action Disney movie could be. Ironically, this is what made me not want to read the book. I’m a book-before-movie sorta fella. I don’t mind watching movies after reading the book and am actually good at refraining from saying stuff like, “Hey! That didn’t happen in the book!” Reading books when I already know the general story, however, isn’t very fun to me. As my eyes rove side-to-side, I like to have no idea what’s coming next. Having said that, I was still eager to cross the book off my Newbery checklist and was reminded, as I read, that an author’s writing style cannot be conveyed through film, Louis Sachar’s being pleasantly unique and comical. I won’t go over the plot, but suffice it to say that it is very original, telling the story of very colorful, likeable characters (even when they’re taking advantage of our more likeable underdog protagonist) and reminding us that weird coincidences aren’t always weird coincidences: sometimes we are meant to cross paths. It’s also one of those stories where several seemingly unrelated plotlines are offered, all converging to reveal a beautiful, completed puzzle in the end. I also love the theme that friendships can be forged in the most unlikely of people and circumstances as well as that comfort and strength can be found when two outcasts join forces (kinda like Benji and I). I can happily give this story 4.5 newbery pies, holding back half a pie on the basis that one might really have to pay close attention if they want to see how all the puzzle pieces connect (and cause I’m stingy about pie). I hate to give out high another score, but we’ve just been reading/perhaps subconsciously choosing good books lately.


Newbery Extras:

Here is Travis Jonker’s remake of the Holes cover. Not bad, Travis. Not bad at all.


Hitty, Her First Hundred Years: The 1930 Winner

This is going to be a solo post this time. I (Benji) have been working on Hitty off and on for a few weeks now. It wasn’t an easy read for me. I was really looking forward to it, thinking that after a decade of only men winning the Newbery, the first woman winner was a big step for the award. Sadly, the same racism and class-ism that plagued a few of the winners from the 1920’s is present in Hitty as well.

Hitty has many adventures that take her around the world, and when she encounters natives of an eastern aisle, she calls them savages, which I guess is what most Americans at the time would have called them. She is a little condescending to the people of India, and at one point she is relieved when she isn’t taken home with an Irish family, who she describes as boisterous and dirty. The worst part for me, though, is when she is taken found by an African American family. The dialect switches from the perfect English that had been used the whole book by all of the white characters to “I is gwine to tell you one thing,” and “Whiter now dan de dribben snow.” I mean, it’s ok to use dialect, but come on. Even your white sailors from earlier in the book used decent English. It’s a bit condescending of the author to just switch like that for one ethnic group. I understand that this book is from a different time, and that it probably wouldn’t even be publishable now, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

I did see what the Newbery committee and the children of the late 20’s and early 30’s saw in Hitty, though. It’s not really my type of book, but there were some charming moments, and the idea of following a doll’s journey throughout a century is a nice one. I would say that today’s children would have trouble liking this book, but It’s hard for me to argue that, because I actually had a rising third grader check it out last week, and love it. I guess there is a niche of kids who like this sort of thing. I wasn’t one of them. I would have found it boring, and frankly, I still do.

I give it two out of five Newbery Pies.

The One and Only Ivan: the 2013 Newbery Winner

We’re reviewing The One and Only Ivan this week. This is one of my (Benji’s) all time favorites, and a book that rocked my world back in 2012. I was really excited when Jake agreed to do it next, so let’s just jump right in with the reviews.

ivanJake’s Review: The One and Only Ivan is the book that won the Newbery Award in 2013 because of Benjiman Samantha Martin. Way before it even won, he was talking this book up and down, forcing all his students to like it, and slapping it in my face every time we had a conversation. All facetiousness aside, this is one of Benji’s favorite Newbery winners ever and possibly his favorite (not sure). And now it is one of mine.

Based on a true story, Ivan is the story of an artistic gorilla living in a tiny cage in a rundown mall, right off an exit on a busy interstate. Though its popularity fluctuates, this mall is constantly fighting its inevitable closure by introducing new spectacles, such as the One and Only Ivan. Ivan was first brought to the mall as a baby. Cute and furry, he brought much attention to the mall, but as he ages, his fame begins to decrease, and the mall’s manager, Mack, is forced to find new ways to revive the mall’s reputation. Thus, he buys Ruby, a baby elephant. Ivan makes a promise to a friend that he will find a way to help Ruby escape the fate of every animal living there: a lifetime of tiny cages and inhumane living conditions.

It’s hard to say much more without giving some of the best parts of this story away. Suffice it to say that this story houses some of the most unique and loveable characters ever found in children’s literature. One of the most enjoyable aspects of this book is the reader’s ability to read Ivan’s colorful, comical, and innocent thoughts as he reflects on his life and his identity as a silverback gorilla (a strong protector in the wild but confined and domesticated in a mall cage). Key to this novel’s success, however, is its style. In fact, I would argue that the style in which this story is written is its most attractive feature. It always reads like a poem, even when it consists of long bits of dialogue and detail. Sometimes, a page may only consists of a few lines, yet it seems these pages seem to say the most, leaving room for the reader to grasps the meaning behind so few words.

To sum this all up: Benji was right. It deserves five stars. It is a beautiful, feel-good story that touches hearts. I want a shirt that says, “Team Ivan!”


Benji’s Review: This is probably going to be the hardest one for me to review. Like I said, it’s one of my favorites, and this was like the third time for me to read it quietly to myself. I’ve read it out loud to six different classes. (I only see the students once a week, so I don’t read many complete novels out loud. This book was one that I felt like I needed to share during the 2012-2013 school year. It took me from October to February.) Right after Ivan won the Newbery in January of 2013, I was overflowing with feelings, so I wrote a post on my other blog titled, “What Ivan means to Me.” I think it best describes how I feel about this book. I’ll just cut and paste the text here:

I declined to read The One and Only Ivan the first time I had it in my “to read” stack. The gorilla thing didn’t really entice me at that moment. I put it aside, and picked up something else (probably something mediocre.) I was working at a public library in Virginia then and had tons to read, and was trying to focus on Young Adult.

Then a big change happened. I got a new job in Alabama at a private school as the Elementary librarian. That meant I could read less YA and more middle grade novels (which I enjoy much more anyways) Ivan was one of the first books I read while working here. While I was reading it, I was blown away. I laughed, cried and thought the whole time about how I needed to get this book into my students’ hands. This book was something special.

15 minutes after I finished reading it in my office, three third grade girls came to visit the library. I told all three of them that they had to read Ivan immediately. One of them took it, and the other two got on the waiting list. I knew I had to get more copies. That night, I went to Books-a-million and got their only copy. I informed the bookseller that they should have more than one in stock because this book was the next Newbery winner.(I was already that confident.) The bookseller just said ok, and I left. I tried to find another copy in Montgomery, unsuccessfully. My brother sent me a third copy in the mail from Virginia.

I had been reading  chapters from various novels to the 4th and 5th graders during library time, but they started requesting that I read one entire book to them instead of small parts of several different books. I was hesitant because I only see the students once a week, and it lakes a LONG time to finish anything of significant length, but I gave in and started reading Ivan to them. At times they are fidgety, and at times I can tell they have zoned off, but during the “good” parts, (Those of you who have read it know which parts I’m talking about) they sit as quiet as can be and hang on to every word.

Yesterday, watching the ALA Youth Media Awards, I was nervous. I knew that Ivan deserved to win the Newbery. But I’ve thought that about other books in the past that didn’t even get honors (cough Okay For Now) I sat through all of the awards. I cheered when Seraphina won the Morris and when Pete the Cat got a Geisel honor. I was very Happy when Extra Yarn got a Caldecott honor and This is not My Hat got the award, and then as it always does, the Newbery came last.

My principal came in when the Newbery presentation started.

“Is this that book award they do every year?” he asked

“The Newbery. Yeah.”

“Who’s going to win?”

“Ivan. Ivan. Ivan.” I had been repeating it under my breath before he came in, so I just took up the chant again as an answer to his question.

“Ivan. Ivan. Ivan.”

BombThree Times Lucky and Splendors and Glooms all received  Newbery honors. Three  great books that I really liked. I was actually kind of afraid  Bomb would steal the whole show.  So this was it. Ivan was either going to take home the gold or be totally ignored by the committee. I was either going to be exuberant or extremely disappointed. I know it sounds ridiculous for an adult to get that worked up about a children’s book award, but I do every year, and this year in particular, I was very nervous.

Ivan. Ivan. Ivan.

And then it happened. The One and Only Ivan won the Newbery Medal. I jumped up and cheered.

My principal said that he needed to get me to start picking football games for him. I don’t think he understood. It wasn’t prediction. Not really. There was really only one book that stood head and shoulders above the others this year, and the committee just revealed (at least to me) what was already obvious, that The One and Only Ivan is a phenomenal book that, like Charlotte’s Web  and The Tale of Despereaux, will be around as long as kids are reading books.

Today, the first girl who read Ivan, the one who checked it out right after I did, came to the library and saw the Ivan cover with the new shiny medal set as my ipad background. I talked to them about the Newbery last week, so she knew it was coming.

“Did Ivan…win?” she asked.

I smiled and shook my head yes and she did a happy dance.

I showed all of my 3rd-5th grade classes the replay of the awards ceremony. In every 4th and 5th grade class, when Ivan was announced, the students all stood up and cheered. “That’s our book! The one we’re reading!” they shouted.

Whenever I think of Ivan from now on, I’ll think of that lovable gorilla, and Bob that funny dog, but I’ll also think of a group of cheering kids, happy that their book had won the Newbery Award.

That’s what I posted in January of last year.

Ivan remains very popular here. This past school year, it was the number five circulated book in my library, which is huge. There’s not another Newbery winner even close to doing that right now.

I’ve talked a lot about the book, but haven’t really said what I liked about it. I love the characters. Animals and humans. Mack isn’t good or bad. He’s just human, and I love that. I love the themes of the importance of story-telling, and the courage to try to change things even when it seems hopeless.

In short, I love everything about The One and Only Ivan. Jake was right. It’s probably my favorite Newbery.

Of course, I give it five out of five Newbery Pies.

***********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************Newbery Newbery extras.

This is a little long, but if you have a minute, watch Katherine Applegate’s Newbery acceptance speech. If you can make it through without crying, you’re stronger than I am.




Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry: The 1977 Winner



Today we’ll be discussing the 1977 winner, Roll of Thunder Hear my Cry. This one is a significant post because it is the first Newbery winner  that Sara, Jake and I all reviewed. Here’s to many more to come!

Sara’s Review: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Margaret D. Taylor presents a truly shameful time in the American South: 1930s Mississippi when Jim Crow was King. A time of in which signs proclaimed “Whites Only” at bathrooms, water fountains and lunch counters.  A time in which black children used outdated, discarded textbooks from white schools. A time in which a black girl was expected to move off the sidewalk to make way for a white girl. A time in which black patrons could wait for hours for service in a store, even if that service had already been started, as every white patron was served ahead of them. A time in which a perceived insult towards a white person resulted in a black person being burned, lynched or otherwise murdered with the law turning a blind eye. A time in which all of these things were perfectly acceptable because most white Southerners considered themselves superior to black people.

The Logan family is a black family with four children: Stacey, Cassie, Christopher-John and Little Man. The story opens on the first day of school; the children have to walk very far. The white school bus speeds past them, purposely throwing dirt on them. On the way to school, they meet up with a gossipy neighbor, T.J., and talk about their grandmother (Big Ma who lives with them) going to tend to the Berry family, who had members that suffered a “burning” the night before. At school, Cassie is excited to be issued a book for the first time, until she finds out the book is old and dirty, being a discard from the white school.

The Logan family does many things in the book to push back against the Jim Crow South. Mrs. Logan, a teacher in the black school, cleans and covers the discarded school books and teaches things that are left out of them. The children dig a ditch on the side of the road that breaks down the white school bus. After the burning, the Logan family leads a boycott against the store owned by those responsible, the Wallace brothers. The family also suffers consequences for their actions. Mrs. Logan is fired for not teaching the approved curriculum. The children fear that they will be found out and suffer the same treatment as the Berry family. On one of his trips returning to buy items from a store in another town, the Wallace brothers sabotage the Logans’ wagon wheel. When Mr. Logan attempts to fix it, one of the brothers shoots him and the wagon falls and breaks his leg.

The Logan family is rich in one way that many of their black neighbors are not: they are landowners. Big Ma and her husband bought the land from the “Yankee Carpetbaggers” after the Civil War. Big Ma transfers ownership of the land over to Mr. Logan and his brother, Hammer, so that no one tries to find a loophole to prevent them from inheriting it after she dies. Mr. Logan’s injury prevents him from working on the railroad, making it very difficult to pay the mortgage payment and endangering their hold on the property.

I felt extremely angry at the injustice portrayed in this book. On the trip where Mr. Logan is hurt, Mr. Morrison, a man who works for the Logan family, comes to his defense, injuring two of the Wallace brothers. Acting as if his brothers were innocent victims, the last brother later confronts Mr. Morrison for hurting his brothers. He threatens retribution, “I’m gonna come get you for what you done! You just watch! One night real soon…”

I bought the 40th Anniversary Edition of this book that came out in 2016. Not only does it have a gorgeous cover by Kadir Nelson and a wonderfully written forward by Jacqueline Woodson, but it is very timely considering the political climate of today. While we can certainly say things have improved since the 1930s, people are still mistreated and even killed because of their skin color. We still have work to do.

The writing of this story is superb. It is distinguished in character, setting, plot and theme. I give Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry 5 out of 5 Newbery Pies.

Jake’s Review:

Roll of Thunder is much like the African American version of To Kill A Mockingbird, not in the events of the story but in style, character types, and the relationships between characters.Cassie, an African American girl in the 1930s, is like Scout in that she is unwilling to miss out on any adventure in which her brothers take part and that her eyes are usually the unfortunate source of potentially frightening events. This, like TKAM, is the story of growing up in a racist society. However, unlike Scout’s, Cassie’s education is one of learning what it means to be black in the 1930s south. Neither like what they learn, and both face these revelations with tomboyish stubborness. Disturbing at times, uplifting at others, this story is stylistically well-done. The characters are loveable and funny. To avoid becoming the easy critic, I’ll give it 4.5 pies, on the weak basis that perhaps the story could have provided more closure.

Benji’s Review:

This book was unfortunate enough to be published in the same year as one of my favorites, String in the Harp by Nancy Bond. After reading it,though, I’m not upset at all that this book won. String in the Harp isn’t for everyone, and I’ve always known that, but this book is one that everyone should read at least once. The injustices that happened during the post-reconstruction era in the South should never be forgotten.

This is one of those books where bad things keep on happening to the main characters and the bad things don’t ever let up. The Logans never lose their courage, though, and the whole family, adults and children, try to fight the injustice the entire novel, making their family a target for the “Night Men” aka the KKK.

There’s a saying I’ve heard a lot here in Alabama. It goes,”Thank God for Mississippi.” What it means is that no matter how backwards things are in Alabama, no matter how bad we are when it comes to education, wide-spread poverty and racism, Mississippi is always worse. At first when I read this novel, I said the same thing, and thanked God that I don’t live in Mississippi now, but I stopped myself and acknowledged that things like the events of this novel, and worse, happened in Alabama too.

Everyone that lives here thinks about these things sometimes. It’s part of our history, terrible as it is. Reading this novel, I was taken to a place, possibly for the first time, where I imagined what it was actually like for an African American living in the South at that time, It terrified me. I can’t imagine sitting on my porch with a shotgun all night pretty certain that hate-filled men are coming to burn my house with my family in it. I can’t imagine my daughter being thrown off of a side-walk by a grown man because she bumped into a white girl. I can’t imagine a whole race of people thinking they are better than me and my family.

It’s so easy to read a book like this in our comfortable homes, and get “fiction angry.” I mean the type of angry you get when a character you like in a fiction novel has something bad happen to them. You get mad while you’re reading, but when you shut the book, you can watch Seinfeld reruns or something, and forget about the injustice because after all, it’s just fiction. But the stuff in this book really happened. It happened for years, and occasionally, it’s still happening today! I hear condescending comments towards African Americans pretty frequently. The lynchings and the church burnings have stopped, but the hate filled attitude that was behind these crimes is still very much alive.

Ok, I’m ranting. I said all that, just to say, everyone should read this book at least once. It is one of the more deserving Newbery winners.

I gave it four Newbery Pies instead of five because I wasn’t really sure about the ending. Did the Logans lose their land because they couldn’t pay the taxes after the burnt cotton? The only reason I wonder is because at the very end Cassie says that she cried for the land. It was kind of ambiguous.


I think it’s interesting that Jake and I both had the same reason for not giving it five stars. The ending really wasn’t that clear. Maybe we should read the sequel one day.

That being said, if you are into this type of book, please go get yourself a copy of Revolution by Deborah Wiles. It is set in Greenwood, Mississippi during the Freedom Summer of 1965. It’s intense, beautiful and very well-written.




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