Thursday, December 31, 2015

Review: P.S. Be Eleven


Rita Williams-Garcia

P.S. Be Eleven

By Rita Williams-Garcia
HarperCollins, 2013

About the Book

In this Coretta Scott King Award-winning novel and sequel to the New York Times bestseller and Newbery Honor Book One Crazy Summer, the Gaither sisters return to Brooklyn and find that changes large and small have come to their home. This extraordinary novel earned five starred reviews, with Publishers Weekly calling it “historical fiction that’s as full of heart as it is of heartbreak” and The Horn Book considering it “funny, wise, poignant, and thought-provoking.”

After spending the summer in Oakland, California, with their mother and the Black Panthers, Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern arrive home with a newfound streak of independence. The sisters aren’t the only ones who have changed. Now Pa has a girlfriend. Uncle Darnell returns from Vietnam a different man. But Big Ma still expects Delphine to keep her sisters in line. That’s much harder now that Vonetta and Fern refuse to be bossed around.

Besides her sisters, Delphine’s got plenty of other things to worry about—like starting sixth grade, being the tallest girl in her class, and dreading the upcoming school dance. The one person she confides in is her mother, Cecile. Through letters, Delphine pours her heart out and receives some constant advice: to be eleven while she can.

My Review

In One Crazy Summer, readers met three sisters: Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern. P.S. Be Eleven is the sequel to the award-winning One Crazy Summer. The novel opens with the three girls on their way home from their summer trip, picking up just where the last book left off.

P.S. Be Eleven captures their adventures and misadventures in New York as the girls settle back down for another school year. It won’t exactly be a calm year either. Their uncle is coming back home from Vietnam, for example, and their own father is getting married. By the end of the book, even more has changed for these young girls. But perhaps the one oh-so-pleasant happening of the novel is the girls’ introduction to the Jackson Five.

These sisters hear from a friend that they just HAVE to watch this awesome new group perform on a TV show. They risk the wrath of their grandmother to turn on the TV after their bedtime—she’s asleep too. I’m guessing each would tell you it was worth it. These three become obsessed with the Jackson Five, and they dream of seeing them in concert. An opportunity arises, something that adds a bit of structure to these adventures, but will they get their happily ever after?

I never knew how much a sequel was needed until I read P.S. Be Eleven. I was perfectly content with One Crazy Summer, and yet, after spending more time with these three sisters . . . well, it was just right, just perfect to go back and revisit them in their comfort zone. The book has a great feel to it.

P.S. Be Eleven was a great experience. I definitely connected with the characters. I knew this to be true when I found myself getting angry—in some cases really angry—with certain situations and events. I found that I really cared deeply about these sisters. I thought the setting was enjoyable, and their obsession with the Jackson Five was great! It was a thoughtful read as well.

Becky Laney
http://blbooks.blogspot.com/
http://zero-to-eight.blogspot.com/
http://operationreadbible.blogspot.com/

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