Rural Voices: 15 Authors Challenge Assumptions About Small-Town America

Candlewick. Oct. 2020. 336p. ed. by Carpenter, Nora Shalaway, ed. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781536212105.
Gr 9 Up–In this collection, 15 authors give a voice to rural America, which is often misunderstood. From upstate New York to the middle of Alaska, these stories span geographic as well as emotional landscapes. Although the obstacles and challenges faced in each tale vary, each voice feels authentic. From Sunny’s deeply physical bond to achingly beautiful Taos, NM, to Jesse’s struggle to accept himself in the face of his father’s disappointment, readers will feel connected with each entry. The variety of formats, such as poetry and graphic stories, along with a variety of voices, helps keep the pages turning and interest high. From laughing out loud to holding back tears, readers who enjoy emotionally resonant books will not be disappointed. Those from similar geographic areas will be nodding their heads while every reader, regardless of location, will connect to the universal triumphs and tribulations of teen life. Fans of Rainbow Rowell will dive headfirst into this collection.
VERDICT A great addition that explores an often misrepresented portion of readers.

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