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In the tumult of 1970s New York City, seventh graders are bussed from their neighborhood in Queens to integrate a new school in South Jamaica.
Jamila Clarke. Josie Rivera. Francesca George. Three mixed-race girls, close friends whose immigrant parents worked hard to settle their families in a neighborhood with the best schools. The three girls are outsiders there, but they have each other.
Now, at the start seventh grade, they are told they will be part of an experiment, taking a long bus ride to a brand-new school built to "mix up the black and white kids." Their parents don't want them to be experiments. Francesca's send her to a private school, leaving Jamila and Josie to take the bus ride without her.
While Francesca is testing her limits, Josie and Jamila find themselves outsiders again at the new school. As the year goes on, the Spanish girls welcome Josie, while Jamila develops a tender friendship with a boy--but it's a relationship that can exist only at school.
About the Author
Marina Budhos is the author of award-winning fiction and nonfiction. Her novels for young adults are Watched, Tell Us We're Home, and Ask Me No Questions. Her nonfiction books include Eyes of the World: Robert Capa & Gerda Taro & The Invention of Modern Photojournalism; Remix: Conversations with Immigrant Teenagers; and Sugar Changed the World, which she cowrote with her husband, Marc Aronson. Budhos has received an EMMA (Exceptional Merit Media Award), a Rona Jaffe Award for Women Writers, and two fellowships from the New Jersey Council on the Arts. She has been a Fulbright Scholar to India and is a professor of English at William Paterson University. Visit her online at marinabudhos.com.
"[Budhos] portrays with nuance the ways multiracial identities, socio-economic status, microaggressions, and interracial relationships can impact and shape identity. Readers will find a powerful window into the past and, unfortunately, a way-too-accurate mirror of the present." —Kirkus Reviews, Starred
"[A] compassionate and thoughtful depiction of families grappling daily with the inequities of a changing society." —Publishers Weekly
“Gracefully balances the surrounding complex issues of race, class, and equity, without losing focus on the small moments (nascent crushes, perfect outfits) that dominate the lives of her young protagonists.”—Booklist
“A layered look at desegregation through the eyes of various characters along the color spectrum, demonstrating that things are not always black and white; it’s also a sharp take on the majority’s getting a glimpse of what it’s like to feel like an outsider.” —Bulletin
“This engaging novel serves as a gateway for readers to learn about the issues of desegregation busing plans in the U.S. and the influence of various adults, and government decisions, in multiracial childhoods.” —The Horn Book