Read Between the Lines by Jo Knowles. Candlewick Press. 2015. Reviewed from ARC.
The Plot: Ten chapters takes us to one day in the life of a high school, told through voices of past and present students and one teacher.
In each, a raised middle finger is part of the story. It gives power to the person giving someone the finger; it hurts the person who it's aimed at.
And in each, we see how a person looks at others and judges them; or how they look at themselves.
OK for those who want more of a plot: a group of boys think it's smart and clever to fake car accidents to get people to give them cash instead of calling the police -- until it backfires.
The Good; I love this type of book! I love that each chapter is told by someone different, and it's their own story, and that the thread connecting them is sometimes obvious and strong, and other times takes a bit to figure out.
And I love that there are ten chapters; one for each finger.
I love that a bullied boy becomes empowered by his broken finger that means he is constantly giving the finger; but before we embrace the idea that hey, it's not so bad, a girl is disturbed and upset when an angry man gives her the finger. The finger means rage, anger, hatred, rebellion. It's like a word: context matters.
I love that sometimes someone is viewed as a bully and then it turns out they have their own inner demons or frustrations that others don't see. If there were a moral to this story, it's that everyone is fighting their own internal battles, and be a bit less quick to judge.
Also, if your teenage son has a lot of spending money and his old car keeps getting dinged and battered, you may want to ask a few questions.
A Favorite Book for 2015.
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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy
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