Top critical review
Written to match school curriculum
Reviewed in the United States on May 22, 2022
I can tell you exactly how the author conceived of and wrote this novel… she took the 5th, 6th, and 7th grade social studies curriculum, made a checklist with each historical fact and event, and then wrote a scene, plot point, or bit of dialog to cover each item. Instead of saying “and we even stayed in a few Hoovervilles” and then explaining what that is in a glossary at the end of the book, she has the 12-year-old narrator explain to us exactly what a Hooverville is. By page 60 she’s already covered the dust bowl, California migration, prohibition, the Spiritualism movement, Hoovervilles, the Klan, and touches on WWI. As you can imagine this makes for boring narration and unnatural dialog. This is the most cynical attempt I’ve ever seen by an author to get a book on school reading lists. How this won the Newberry medal is beyond me.