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Blackbird Fly Hardcover – Import, 24 March 2015
“Will resonate with any student in middle school who has felt different and ostracized. The author has skillfully captured the various characters that populate Apple’s . . . school.” -- School Library Journal (starred review)
“[A] delightful debut . . . What sets Kelly’s book apart is the combination of a quirky narrator and details about living in a first-generation Filipino American household. . . . Through her love of music . . . Apple starts to soar like the eponymous blackbird of her favorite Beatles song.” -- Los Angeles Times Book Review
“A smart, sensitive, and resilient heroine who is authentic and relatable in her strengths and imperfections. This poignant novel would make for a particularly fine readaloud; expect visceral reactions . . . This is a must-read for those kids cringing at their own identities.” -- Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Writing with acute sensitivity and sometimes painful realism, debut novelist Kelly skillfully captures the betrayals, tentative first crushes, and fluctuating emotions of middle school ... a true triumph.” -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Kelly skillfully weaves together the story of misfit Apple, her love of music, and a budding romance with a new boy at school, while never losing focus on the central issue of what it is like to be the ‘other.’” -- Booklist
From the Back Cover
Twelve-year-old Apple Yengko believes that there are at least three interesting facts about every person on Earth. Unfortunately, her three IFs make her an outcast in Chapel Spring Middle School in Chapel Spring, Louisiana:
- She has slanted eyes
- She has a weird Filipino nickname
- . . . and a weird mother
When Apple is voted the third-ugliest girl in school, her life quickly falls apart. The boys bark at her in the halls and a rumor spreads that she eats dogs for dinner. Music is her only escape. All she needs is enough money to buy a guitar, and then she'll be able to change herself and her life forever. So what if her mother doesn't understand and thinks she's becoming too American? So what if her supposed best friends turn the other way . . .
It might be the Beatles and their music who save Apple, or Mr. Z (Chapel Spring Middle's awesome music teacher)—or it could be two unexpected friends who show her that standing out in a crowd is better than getting lost in it.
- Publisher : Greenwillow Books (24 March 2015)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 304 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0062238612
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062238610
- Reading age : 8 - 12 years
- Item Weight : 375 g
- Dimensions : 3.05 x 14.73 x 21.08 cm
- Customer Reviews:
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What I didn't like were the supporting characters who, like Apple (the main character), are bullied at school. Or I liked them individually, but didn't buy into their grouping. Apple teams up with an unconventional boy and an obese girl--both of whom are targets for the bullies. Together they create their own little circle. It read like a cynical marketing grab aimed at Generation Z school diversity programs. I wish it didn't, but that was my take. It was too easy to group them together and none of them have anything quirks that make the friendships difficult. I also had a hard time believing that Apple would be called the various racist phrases given the current anti-bullying culture at school. It's certainly possible and I'm sure some readers can vouch for that, but kids who do this are usually ostracized pretty quickly, at least in my neck of the woods.