rating: 4 of 5 stars
How does Jacqueline Woodson manage to fit so much into such a slim book? It’s not that it has a big plot, but more than there’s so much life in so few pages. Each character – even the younger kids who only appear for a few moments on the page – is distinct and full of character. The descriptions of food make you hungry, the sense of the neighborhood is palpable, even though the description is sparse, and most of all – the sense of being eleven, twelve, thirteen. My childhood doesn’t bear any outward resemblance to these girls, but I recognized the narrator as a sort of kindred spirit in an unexpected way. I don’t know quite who I’d recommend this to, because it’s hard to describe and it doesn’t have a lot of obvious hooks. But I think it definitely speaks to what girls go through at that age, in terms of awareness of the bigger world and friendships and family. And it also deals with how much music, or a single musician, can matter to someone, so that might be a good hook there.