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Erin Entrada Kelly. What is there to say about one of my favorite young adult writers?
Um.. she's amazing.
She writes killer books that always touch your heart.
She is the winner of the 2018 Newberry for her book, Hello Universe.
Oh, and she is, of course, the author of our featured books today titled You Go First.
You Go First is a parallel story that features the friendship of twelve-year-old Charlotte Lockard, and eleven-year-old Ben Boxer. Ben and Charlotte live thousands of miles apart, and they have never met in person. But their friendship is one that is true.
They understand each other, they support one other through both their major life changes and trials, not to mention they both share their love of online Scrabble. After all, it was online Scrabble that brought them together in the first place.
As you read this book, you will see that the book follows the separate lives of Charlotte and Ben all the while it intertwining them together through their shared phone calls. Charlotte is dealing with a health crisis of her father and the sudden coldness from her childhood best friend.
Charlotte is struggling with finding someone that can both support her through her family crisis all the while accepting her for who she is.
Like Charlotte, Ben's family is going through their own challenges. Ben's parents have sucker-punched him with a sudden announcement that they will be getting a divorce. Ben never saw it coming. Now, he is left to deal with his shock and anger of the breaking apart of his family.
In order to distract from the drama at home, Ben decides to run for a Class Office. However, things only get more complicated for Ben when the school bullies decide to make Ben the center of their cruel entertainment.
As both Ben and Charlotte struggle to overcome their individual challenges, their friendship and the shared love of learning often provides a relief for each of them.
Throughout the story, there are moments of such "life-truths" that shines through the pages and will apply to anyone that is reading the book.
I bought these books for a Sunday School group of 4th-6th graders. We read Erin's other book, Hello Universe, last year and the kids loved it. They are also enjoying this book. I was able to get the soft cover, on time, and for a good price because I needed 20, so I saved some money. I used the "order now and receive when available" option and it worked great. Got them on time and for a good price.
There was nothing I didn't like. This was a fast and easy read for me and one that I will recommend to my students. It is a wonderful story of two potential "misfits" and how they connect over on-line Scrabble. The issues they encounter are all too common in real life school situations. Great story; great characters.