Author: King, A. S.
Five white teenage cousins who are struggling with the failures and racial ignorance of their dysfunctional parents and their wealthy grandparents, reunite for Easter.
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|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: UG
Reading Level: 4.00
Points: 12.0 Quiz: 507131
School Library Journal (00/05/19)
The Hornbook (+) (00/03/19)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 12/15/2018 *Starred Review* With a style and structure similar to I Crawl through It (2015), King’s surreal new novel tunnels through the consciousness of five unknowingly connected teens as they grapple with their identities within the context of their families and society. Trauma or abuse touches most of their lives, and they each find security in a self-defined role. The Shoveler’s snow shovel may give him a reputation for being strange, but it also keeps him safe from school bullies. The Freak flickers from location to location, always in control of her ability to exit a situation. Malcolm’s frequent first-class flights to Jamaica give a charmed veneer to a life otherwise dictated by his father’s cancer. Loretta is ringmistress of a flea circus and knows her part by heart, even when her father goes dangerously off script. CanIHelpYou? works the Arby’s drive-through, discreetly serving drugs to those who know the magic words. These characters brush against one another’s lives, eventually coming together at an eye-opening Easter dinner. King injects the narrative with the topics of racism, white power and privilege, and class with increasing intensity as the teens’ stories unfold and entwine. This visceral examination of humanity’s flaws and complexity, especially where the adult characters are concerned, nevertheless cultivates hope in a younger generation that’s wiser and stronger than its predecessors. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 05/01/2019 Gr 9 Up—Once there was a family who grew and dug potatoes for generations, but family disagreements led to the selling of the land. One of the brothers took his portion, developed the land, and grew money instead of potatoes. He and his wife also grew a family of five children, then decided not to pass their money on to the generation who left home young and rarely or never spoke with their parents. Each of these children had one child, cousins who had no connection with one another—if they even knew that they had cousins at all. Then in a confluence of events, all five of the cousins found themselves living within a few miles of their grandparents—the Freak, the Shoveler, CanIHelpYou?, Malcolm, and Loretta. They each have difficult family lives, and all of them are loners—until they find one another. King's delightful surrealism flows effortlessly back and forth against the stark realism of the five teens' lives, touching on issues of abuse, prejudice, white privilege, and loneliness. Gottfried and Marla, the grandparents, and each of the teens are well-developed, well-rounded characters with multiple interwoven chapters building to the climax. Even minor characters are well-drawn portraits. This combination of masterly storytelling, memorable characters, and unexpected twists and turns make this book into an unforgettable, lingering read. VERDICT A first purchase for all libraries that has great discussion potential.—Janet Hilbun, University of North Texas, Denton - Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.