The Kate in Between

HarperCollins/Quill Tree. May 2021. 304p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062912701.
Gr 5-7–Seventh grade couldn’t toss any more twists and turns at Kate McAllister. Her mother has left for Utah to try to move up the ladder in her multilevel marketing cosmetic company, leaving the girl with her police officer father. She and her childhood best friend, Haddie, have stopped hanging out since Kate became science lab partners with popular Taylor, who pulls Kate into a new group of cool friends. But when the new friend group focuses their teasing on Haddie with a game of keep-away that sends her falling through thin ice to retrieve her hat, Kate jumps to the rescue. The video Taylor films of Kate rescuing Haddie goes viral, and Kate is thrust into the media spotlight as the poster child for anti-bullying. Kate starts to question her role in what happened to Haddie and who her true friends are, eventually confronting whether she really is “Kate the Great.” Swinarski adeptly presents multiple, and at times conflicting, sides of Kate in her struggle to figure out who she is and who she wants to be. Kate is cued as white.
VERDICT With a well-developed protagonist, this book tackles bullying, friendship, and parental roles. For library collections seeking books covering issues of social media and social justice.

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