Publisher: Harper Collins/ Amistad
Series: Gaither Sisters #3
Reviewed In Series: One Crazy Summer
Genres: Juvenile/ Young-Adult/ Historical/ Cultural/ Realistic-Fiction/ African-American/ Coming-of-Age
Format: Digital ARC
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
My Rating: 5 Stars
Newbery Honor winner and New York Times bestselling author Rita Williams-Garcia tells the story of the Gaither sisters, who are about to learn what it’s like to be fish out of water as they travel from the streets of Brooklyn to the rural South for the summer of a lifetime.
Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern are off to Alabama to visit their grandmother, Big Ma, and her mother, Ma Charles. Across the way lives Ma Charles’s half sister, Miss Trotter. The two half sisters haven’t spoken in years. As Delphine hears about her family history, she uncovers the surprising truth that’s been keeping the sisters apart. But when tragedy strikes, Delphine discovers that the bonds of family run deeper than she ever knew possible.
Powerful and humorous, this companion to the award-winning One Crazy Summer and P.S. Be Eleven will be enjoyed by fans of the first two books as well as by readers meeting these memorable sisters for the first time.
*Actual rating 4.5 stars*
Review: As far as endings go, this book is enjoyable. Need more? Yes! I think, of the 3, P.S. Be Eleven is my favorite book. With this book’s setting being in my home state Alabama, I think that there could have been more history mentioned. As we all know, there is plenty of history down here- mostly bad, but there’s the good history too.
From the moment that Delphine, Vonetta and Fern kickoff in their journey, I was hooked. And, I must say, Fern stole the whole book for me. I couldn’t stop laughing to save my life. She is her own little person, and she stood out completely from her sisters. From her little poems that she created to her trying to save the animals, there wasn’t a moment that she didn’t put a smile on my face. Vonetta, being the middle child, is sort of the rebel of the 3. She was the sole instigator to so much that happened between these characters. Especially her great grandmother and great aunt. And Vonetta wouldn’t be herself if she didn’t hold a grudge. She’s still mad at her uncle for the wrong doing that happened in the last book (I will not spoil!!).
Delphine is ever the big sister. She promised her dad that she’d watch over her sisters and keep them out of trouble. That’s no easy feat when you have 2 sisters who are becoming independent. Bless her heart, she tried. She, herself, tries to stand her ground with her Big Ma- without being disrespectful. And when things got tough, she blamed herself a lot; when it totally wasn’t her fault.
There’s history explored here, but not enough. Well, maybe there shouldn’t be a lot of past events brought up in a book that is solely middle grade. I think that there are some lessons learned in this book that you will not get from school. I sure as heck didn’t know of one particular subject that was brought up about American Indians. How did I not know this?!! I’ve always wondered why my great great grandmother was half Indian. Like, how did that come about? Now, I have a feeling that I won’t like the answer.
The Apollo 11 moment was touched upon, which was nice. There’s always the mention of the KKK in historical books based in the South. Trust me, they are still around. They are policemen, judges, doctors and everything else. I hate to be so, I don’t know, vocal about it. It’s just that the more things change, the more they stay the same. It really sucks!
What I loved most about this book is that this family came together in times of need. The 2 elderly sisters, who bickered like the old women that they are, came together and that was so great. I was beaming like the sun! Cecile rushed from CA to come check on her children. She may have left them with their dad, but that moment showed me that she cares. Big Ma put aside her self-willed notions, and stepped up to the plate. Pa and his wife have big changes coming, and I think that it will all be right in the end. Lastly, these amazing girls that the author created, are coming along just fine. I hate that something bad had to happen to pull this family all together under one roof, but it did. Definitely worth the wait. Recommended!!