|Kiki and Jacques|
Author: Ross, Susan L.
Eleven-year-old Jacques, who must contend with difficult family dynamics and pressure from an older boy to help him commit a crime, is surprised to discover that he has much in common with Kiki, one of the many new Somali refugees who have immigrated to his Maine town.
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|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.30
Points: 4.0 Quiz: 176151
Kirkus Reviews (-) (08/15/15)
School Library Journal (09/01/15)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 09/01/2015 Middle-schooler Jacques thinks that if he can just make captain of the soccer team, everything will be all right. His dad, a widower, will be proud of him, stop drinking so much, and get a job so his grandmother won’t lose her shop on the main street of their quiet, francophone Maine mill town. But with a sudden surge of Somali immigrants comes Mohamed, who is better than Jacques at soccer, and Kiki, Mohamed’s cute younger sister. Now, in addition to doing whatever he can to help his family, Jacques, who is shouldering these burdens largely alone, frets about his place on the team and faces new, confusing feelings about girls. But when bully Duane tries to rope him into a crime, Jacques starts to learn that he can’t face everything by himself. Though Jacques’ reluctance to tell anyone about Duane’s scheme isn’t very convincing, debut author Ross sensitively and gently portrays struggles facing the Somali immigrant community. This ultimately rosy picture of an unexpectedly diverse town coming together is heartening and gratifying. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 09/01/2015 Gr 3–5—Jacques has been bullied by an older boy for years, and lately the older boy has been telling Jacques to do illegal things. Jacques has been trying to avoid the older boy and has resisted him until now. But new pressures come down on the 12-year-old: Jacques's grandmother is having money troubles and may lose her bridal shop, and his father has been drinking more and was fired from his job. When Kiki and her family, refugees from Somalia, arrive in the small Maine town, Jacques starts to look outside himself. He soon becomes friends with Kiki, but her brother, a star soccer player, doesn't approve. Jacques, who had hopes of being the captain of the soccer team, now has to deal with Mohamed, who is a much better player and doesn't seem to like him. Meanwhile, a kind of love triangle develops among Jacques, Kiki, and another local girl. Readers will come away with a sense of cultural differences between the American residents of Jacques's French-speaking town and Kiki's Somali family. Unfortunately, there are too many subplots packed into this slim novel, which lend the overall work a rushed and incomplete feel. The ending is happy, though predictable and a bit too neat. VERDICT An additional purchase for larger collections.—Terry Ann Lawler, Burton Barr Library, Phoenix, AZ - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.