Series: Gaither Sisters #2
Genres: Juvenile Fiction/ Historical/ Cultural/ Realistic/ African-American
My Rating: 5 Stars
In this exquisite sequel to the New York Times bestseller One Crazy Summer, the Gaither sisters return to Brooklyn and find that changes large and small have come to their home.
After spending the summer in Oakland with their mother and the Black Panthers, Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern arrive home with a newfound streak of independence, and the sisters aren’t the only ones who have changed. Now Pa has a girlfriend. Uncle Darnell returns from Vietnam a different man. But Big Ma still expects Delphine to keep her sisters in line. That’s much harder now that Vonetta and Fern refuse to be bossed around. Besides her sisters, Delphine’s got plenty of other things to worry about-like starting sixth grade, being the tallest girl in her class, and dreading the upcoming school dance (her first). The one person she confides in is her mother, Cecile. Through letters, Delphine pours her heart out and receives some constant advice: to be eleven while she can.
The sequel to the Newbery Honor Book and Coretta Scott King Award winner One Crazy Summer, P.S. Be Eleven stands on its own as a funny, moving story of three sisters coming of age in the turbulent 1960s.
My Thoughts: This is a great sequel to One Crazy Summer. The character growth with these 3 sisters is amazing. Though, it hasn’t been that long since their return from CA, that visit changed their lives.
Delphine is changing the most. She still has the weight of the world on her shoulders. She’s the big sister to 2 younger ones, who are impressionable. Being there for them, but at the same time trying to find some independence, is hard to achieve. She finds some guidance from her mother, whom she writes to often. P.S. Be Eleven is not the only advice that her mother gives but it is the one that I love the most. It’s hard to be eleven when you’re growing up and have to take on adult responsibilities.
Life in 60s Brooklyn, New York. I’ve watched a lot of documentaries and movies over the years that portray that decade. Garcia is a great storyteller so it was not hard for me to jump back in the lives of these characters. Giving these characters real problems and culture is just the icing on the cake. The Jackson 5 are these girls favorite group. I loved how the author gives you the images to put together in your head. It’s like I was transported back in time and I was there trying to make a way to go to that concert!
There are other things going on around Delphine, Fern, and Vonetta. Pa has a new lady in his life so that’s a big change for them. Their uncle Darnell is fresh out of the war in Vietnam and he’s not the same man he used to be. These girls learn a lot about adults and the hardships of life all around. I’m not sure if it was worse back then than it is now. The only things that changed are technology. The advances in technology gives kids access to things but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s hard being yourself. Bullying has gotten worse. To the point where suicide seems the only way out for the recipient.
I think this is a great book for anyone of any age, race and gender. There are some great life lessons to be learned reading these books and I, for one, will be reading the next book when it comes out. I can’t get enough of Garcia’s storytelling or these amazing girls that she brings to life within the pages. Definitely recommend!