In her first novel since winning the Newbery Medal for When You Trap a Tiger, Tae Keller offers a gripping and emotional story about a girl who is alienated by her friends . . . for believing in aliens.
Sometimes middle school can make you feel like you're totally alone in the universe...but what if we aren't alone at all?
Thanks to her best friend, Reagan, Mallory Moss knows the rules of middle school. The most important one? You have to fit in to survive. But then Jennifer Chan moves in across the street, and that rule doesn’t seem to apply. Jennifer doesn’t care about the laws of middle school, or the laws of the universe. She believes in aliens—and she thinks she can find them.
Then Jennifer goes missing. Using clues from Jennifer’s journals, Mallory goes searching. But the closer she gets, the more Mallory has to confront why Jennifer might have run . . . and face the truth within herself.
Tae Keller lights up the sky with this insightful story about shifting friendships, right and wrong, and the power we all hold to influence and change one another. No one is alone.---from the publisher
288 pages 978-0593310526 Ages 10-13
Keywords: middle school, friends, accepting others, inclusivity, bullying, bullies, aliens, getting along, social situations, running away, 10 year old, 11 year old, 12 year old, 13 year old, Middle School Book Club 7th Grade
For a lot of kids middle school changes the whole school experience. Suddenly there are invisible rules that have somehow appeared over the summer between 5th grade and 6th grade and some kids seem to know them - learned them some magical way from some magical people - and some kids are caught completely unaware and end up getting intimidated and often bullied in the process. It's not a pretty sight.
Mallory has been "lucky enough" to have her friend, Reagan, to fill her in on the invisible rules of middle school power and how to be accepted by the girls who wield the power in their social world. So, when Jennifer Chan moves in and Mallory's mom wants to go over to meet the family, Mallory instantly knows that Jennifer doesn't get the rules. Jennifer is not going to fit in. Jennifer believes aliens may be real.
So the game begins. The fear of not belonging and being "tainted" by someone else's otherness grows larger and larger. And then, the night comes when the local police are seen outside Jennifer's home. The word starts to pop up on one phone and then on many phones. Jennifer is missing. No one knows where she is.
Mallory decides to find out.... because Mallory knows ....she knows what they did.
What happens to Jennifer is the kind of thing that middle school girls do to each other year after year after year. We haven't figured out how to fix this yet. We haven't been able to teach our girls to like each other for who they are as individuals.
This is a brutally honest story about how girls treat each other in middle school. The feelings, the pain, the guilt, the journey to seeing yourself and others is all here in living color. This would be an amazing ONE SCHOOL ONE BOOK read for middle schools all over the country ...probably all over the world. Let's hope that is exactly what happens...because it sure is time.
Recommended by: Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com