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FICTION

Farah Rocks Fifth Grade

Capstone. (Farah Rocks). Jan. 2020. 144p. Tr $15.95. ISBN 9781496583390.
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Gr 3-5–Darraj introduces smart, courageous, and sensitive Farah Hajjar, a fifth-grader whose biggest concern should be deciding on a topic for her application essay at the Magnet Academy. Farah Rocks, as everyone calls her, and her Official Best Friend Allie Liu, are both in the gifted class at Harbortown Public School. Both are hoping to get into the super exclusive academy where they will be partners on every science fair project. However, when the new girl starts bullying Farah’s little brother, Farah starts failing her classes on purpose so she won’t leave him unprotected. When Farah tries getting adults to help, she isn’t taken seriously and when she tries talking to Allie about it, they end up getting in a fight. Can Farah figure this out on her own? Darraj shines a light on sibling relationships, and the malicious, repetitive behaviors of bullies that often go unchecked.
VERDICT Farah is a well-rounded character with ambitions and struggles; readers will identify with her challenges and root for her to succeed. A first purchase for upper elementary readers.
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