Those Kids from Fawn Creek by Erin Entrada Kelly

Published by Greenwillow Books

Summary:  The kids in the tiny town of Fawn Creek, Louisiana have known each other for most of their lives.  So it’s a big deal that Renni moved away last year, and an even bigger deal when new girl Orchid shows up in their sixth grade class.  Not only does Orchid have beautiful hair (rumor has it that she’s had it insured), but she tells enchanting stories about her life in New York City and Paris.  Everyone expects her to become part of Janie’s popular crowd, but instead she gravitates toward outcasts Grayson and Dorothy.  The story takes place in the days leading up to a much-anticipated dance in the neighboring town where Renni now lives, and many of the kids find themselves reevaluating their personalities and roles as a result of their interactions with Orchid.  This culminates the night of the dance, when Grayson finally shows his true self, and a bullying incident leads both Dorothy and Janie to see who they really are.  336 pages; grades 4-7.

Pros:  Erin Entrada Kelly has created a memorable cast or characters who are all brought to life through a series of what seem to be small, everyday experiences.  With four starred reviews, this book is likely to be considered for another Newbery Medal or honor to put alongside the two Kelly already has.

Cons:  For the first half of the book, I struggled to keep all the characters straight and was grateful for the list of characters (grouped by clique) on the inside jacket flap.

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