The Places We Sleep

Holiday House. Aug. 2020. 272p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780823444212.
Gr 5-8–Set against the backdrop of 9/11, this authentic coming-of-age story highlights one girl’s journey towards courage and belonging. Twelve-year-old Abbey is tired of moving. Having a father in the military means she is always the new kid. Hopefully this time will be different, especially with a friend like Camille by her side. When Abbey wakes up on September 11, she doesn’t expect to get her period. And she really doesn’t expect a terrorist attack to rock the country. Before Abbey can ask about “girl supplies,” her mom races off to New York City, where her sister has been declared “missing.” Left with a dad preparing for active duty, Abbey is forced to navigate anxiety and grief on her own. At school, things aren’t much better. Every day she dreads being called “army brat” and seeing the bullies taunt Camille and the other new girl, Jiman. Abbey wonders if she will ever find the courage to stand up for the people and things she believes in. Writing in captivating verse, DuBois brilliantly evokes tension as she chronicles the horrors of 9/11 and Abbey’s personal tragedies. With a strong, genuine voice, Abbey conveys her journey from insecurity to belonging. As she shares her challenges, discoveries, and triumphs, readers will encounter themes of xenophobia, war, depression, and the difficulties of menstruation.
VERDICT This dynamic tale provides a gutsy glimpse of one girl’s experience on the cusp of womanhood, the trauma of loss during 9/11, and the sustaining power of bravery and friendship.

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