Disclosure: I received this complimentary product (Middletown) through Raincoast Books. Affiliate Links will be used, thank you for your support of my blog, costs you nothing to do so. 🙂
Anna and Eli have a problem… it’s a big problem… and through Middletown we get to take a front-row seat and see how these sisters work through complicated issues and create new possibilities. Events move along fairly quickly as the girls work hard to be family. Creative solutions, luck, friendship, and family all pull together in the end, and it is good.
Learning about Middletown
Sarah Moon is the author of Middletown, a high school read published by Levine Querido. 25 chapters, with an appendage, round out the 256 page read. Several themes fill the pages: gender identity, substance abuse and recovery, parental neglect, and sexual harassment. It’s a lot to pack into a single book isn’t it? 🙂 And overall it’s well-done. The characters and communication flow naturally. I love how I was made to care about what happened with Eli and Anna…. would they find a family? Would they be able to keep ahead of the child care system and find a tenable situation to live in?
I received an ARC copy from Raincoast books.
So what do you get?
Though many reviewers are calling this a middle school read, it’s not! Initially I thought it was as well, but it’s marketed for grade 9 and up. The topics discussed are more for high school level as well and I can totally see some middle school students enjoying this book.
This fictional title comes just as text. No illustrations to grace the pages, and the cover leaves something to be desired. The cover did not draw me at all.
Most of the font is easy to read, standard font. Letters and various forms of communication cause font changes.
Chapter headings of very simple with numbers spelling out how far you are. Character development was well done. Eli was a funny kids and got herself into situations sometimes. 🙂 Anna, an intense, moody teen with a snappy comeback to everything. The love these girls felt for each other, evident throughout, though at times strained by circumstances sometimes beyond their control.
Some lines I just enjoyed.
The smell of chicken in springtime can take your breath away. It falls over you like a blanket, in your ears, your eyes, your mouth until it’s so all around you that you have no choice but to get used to it. You can’t fight chicken poop, it will always win. Eli was learning this the hard way.
I laughed out loud, my son asked what was funny. I read that line to him and he laughed too! The thing is… I grew up on a farm, and it’s true! Chicken poop is something special. 🙂
It was fun watching the girls get themselves into a better situation, the bending they had to do, and the choices (sometimes hard) they made. Much to appreciate in Sarah Moon’s novel.
Should Middletown be on your Bookshelf?
I have to admit, I don’t know.
I overall enjoyed the story of Middletown. The determination of family to stick it through. Along with the determination of friends to lend an hand where able. The characters were well-developed.
The sexual preferences of a rather young girl being such a big part of the story, is something I did not appreciate. I didn’t. I do not understand the push to have such topics as integral parts of a story for young people.
The good friendships these girls have, the growth the girls experience, the uniqueness of the aunt, and the lessons they learn is all fantastic. These lessons weren’t all easy, but they were necessary for the growth seen in each person.
But you know what? Families are complicated. Parents sometimes fail at parenting, extended family sometimes fail to pick up the pieces until they see the desperation, children sometimes struggle with gender identity, older siblings at times have to raise their younger ones, and it’s messy! Families and friendships are complicated things. In this middle school read.. complication happens, and growth occurs!