Blended

Sharon M. Draper. Atheneum/Dlouhy, $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4424-9500-5
Timely and genuine, this novel chronicles a biracial girl’s struggle to define her identity and find her voice amid personal and societal expectations. After her parents’ divorce, competitive pianist Isabella, 11, divides her time between her white diner-waitress mother and her wealthy black father. The constant back and forth and her family’s tense weekly exchanges cause her intense stress, as do the microaggressions Isabella experiences regularly. When a history class discussion about student protests and the history of lynching ends with a noose being placed in a black classmate’s locker, Isabella’s awareness of racist behavior skyrockets, as does her need to define who she is for herself. Draper (Out of My Mind) doesn’t shy away from challenging or uncomfortable topics; police aggression, gun violence, the complicated nature of divorce, and socioeconomic imbalances are all candidly addressed as real and important parts of Isabella’s experience. Readers will identify with Isabella’s journey to stand up for herself, especially to her parents, whose constant arguing and clear dislike for each other often overshadow her needs: “Chocolate family meets vanilla family in the artificial reality that is a mall,” Isabella says. “Caramel daughter caught helplessly between the two.” Ages 8–12. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/2018
Release date: 10/30/2018
Genre: Children's
Downloadable Audio - 288 pages - 978-1-5082-5878-0
Compact Disc - 288 pages - 978-1-5082-5877-3
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-4424-9501-2
Library Binding - 332 pages - 978-1-4328-7408-7
Paperback - 332 pages - 978-1-4328-7409-4
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