A Sky Full of Stars

320p. HMH. Jan. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780544800656.
Gr 5–7—Jackson's second novel in the continuing story of Rosa "Rose" Lee Carter, a 13-year-old African American girl growing up in Mississippi. The year is 1955, and the town of Stillwater, MI, is still reeling from the injustice of Emmett Till's murderers going free. The white folks are saying that ever since the trial, "the coloreds have gotten beside themselves." Trouble is brewing closer to Rosa than it ever has before. Her best friend, Hallelujah, the preacher's son, is stirring up talk of holding demonstrations in Stillwater. But it is Rosa's cousin Shorty who is determined to take a stronger stance against whites, using guns instead of words. While the backdrop of the story depicts the violence and hatred toward blacks in the South, racial tension and injustice is weaved throughout Rosa's own story. Many readers will be shaken by the level of violence that pervaded this time and region of the country, while others will see echoes of this history in current events. There is also much inspiration to be found in Rosa's resilience and her determination to make something good of her life and not leave her beloved South for a "safer" part of the country. Jackson presents a raw and frank look at what growing up in the deep South during Jim Crow was really like.
VERDICT A powerful and well-crafted novel that will spark deep discussion of this era in U.S. history—and its contemporary repercussions.

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