Turning Point

HarperCollins/Greenwillow. Sept. 2020. 384p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062965660.
Gr 5 Up–Best friends Monique and Rasheeda spend the summer before ninth grade apart when Monique gets into a prestigious ballet training program and Rasheeda is left behind to help her aunt at their close-knit church. While Mo struggles to adjust to the microaggressions of an unfamiliar and primarily white environment, she ultimately gains confidence in her own dance abilities and begins to dream of a future at a dance high school. Sheeda, meanwhile, struggles between her obligations to her church and a slowly blossoming relationship with Mo’s older brother Lennie, which comes close to something she isn’t ready for. Though the two girls talk on the phone and text throughout the book, their journeys take place largely in alternating chapters. Readers will enjoy the contrasting narratives as well as the authentic dialogue. Mo and Sheeda’s voices are very clear, and their conversations always feel natural and engaging. Fans of Chase’s other middle grade books So Done and Dough Boys, or Jason Reynolds’s “Track” series are sure to enjoy this down-to-earth summer read.
VERDICT Chase writes the diverging, formative experiences of young Black girls beautifully. A necessary purchase for all collections.

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