Saturday, March 01, 2014

Junction of Sunshine and Lucky

The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky Holly Schindler

Auggie likes her neighborhood and going to the dump with her Grandpa Gus, a trash hauler. But her school has closed down, and she and her friends have to go to a different one, in a neighborhood with a lot more money. Suddenly, the fact that Auggie and her friends don't have new things is a big deal. Suddenly Auggie's best friend would rather spend time with Victoria, who sneers at Auggie and Grandpa every chance she can. Victoria's father is on the town council and he's started the House Beautification Committee and everyone has to comply. Auggie has some grand ideas to make her house beautiful, but not everyone agrees with her idea of beauty.

I haven't read any middle grade in a while--my time on Outstanding Books for the College Bound really focused my reading on teen and adult, mostly adult, titles. This was a great re-introduction to the age range. Schindler really captures a lot of Auggie's confusion and the delicate politics of a 5th-grade classroom and changing friendships. I loved Auggie's voice and the brave face she put on. There is A LOT going on under the surface of this story, and some very BIG ISSUES are touched on--class divide between Auggie's neighborhood and the rest of town, eminent domain (the House Beautification Committee will never be happy with Auggie's neighborhood for spoiler-y reasons), the fact that Auggie lives with her Grandpa while her mom is out in California becoming a star. But despite these big issues, it's not a downer book. The story is told through Auggie's voice, and a lot is about her artistic vision for making her house beautiful, making it into its own work of art.

Also, I should note, Auggie's town is very diverse and Schindler writes race with a very sublte hand. Auggie and the mean girl, Victoria, are both African-American. But race doesn't play a role in the story.

Book Provided by... the author, for inclusion in her blog tour.

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