Clean Getaway by Nic Stone

Published by Crown Books for Young Readers

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Summary:  Scoob has had some troubles at school, so he’s only too happy when his grandmother shows up with an RV, announcing that she’s sold her house, and takes him on an impromptu road trip across the southern U.S.  Along the way, she shares stories with Scoob about his grandfather, their interracial marriage in the 1960’s, and how Grandpa ended up in jail. Scoob learns about racism past and present when he discovers a well-worn copy of the Green Book in the RV and notices some people’s discomfort at seeing a black kid with a white woman.  G’ma’s behavior gets stranger as the trip progresses, and Scoob tries to figure out her frequent license plate changes on the RV, the large pile of money he discovers, and the reason why she refuses to take his dad’s increasingly frantic phone calls. The ending isn’t entirely happy, but Scoob finds he has grown and changed during the trip and gained a greater understanding of his family and their history.  240 pages; grades 4-7.

Pros:  Scoob and G’ma are fun characters and readers will find plenty of humor in their adventures, while learning about civil rights history and race issues from the past and present.  The light tone, fairly short text, and plentiful illustrations would make this a good choice for reluctant readers.

Cons:  This book has been reviewed positively everywhere, but I was not a big fan.  The revelations about G’ma’s character were hard for me to understand and made her unlikeable to me.

If you would like to buy this on Amazon, click here.

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