Jennifer Chan Is Not Alone

Random. Apr. 2022. 288p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780593310526.
Gr 5-7–“There are also things I don’t know. Like, do some people really just have popularity? Or is it given, or taken, or some combination of both?” Mallory Moss ponders this question as she struggles to find her place in middle school and in the world at large. Jennifer Chan, a new girl from Chicago, has just moved to Norwell, FL, and the rumors about her are already swirling. As Jennifer’s neighbor, Mallory discovers that Jennifer’s strength and quirky personality, along with her firm belief in aliens, are a recipe for disaster for the upcoming seventh grade year. Jennifer, on the other hand, is thrilled to have a new friend, but is stunned to learn that their budding friendship means nothing at school, because Mallory is one of the mean girls. When Jennifer goes missing, Mallory’s world is shaken; she knows that she must revisit the bullying Jennifer experienced to get to the truth and hope it’s not too late to save her. Written from Mallory’s perspective in chapters that alternate between “Then” and “Now,” Newbery-winning author Keller’s book contains an exciting mix of mystery, adventure, and science fiction. Readers will bond with Mallory and stay engaged in the well-paced plot. Mallory and Jennifer are both Asian, while most friends read as white.
VERDICT With an appeal to a wide variety of readers, this genre fusion is highly recommended for all library shelves.

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