Author: Sharon M. Draper
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Release Date: October 30, 2018
Eleven-year-old Isabella’s parents are divorced, so she has to switch lives every week: One week she’s Isabella with her dad, his girlfriend Anastasia, and her son Darren living in a fancy house where they are one of the only black families in the neighborhood. The next week she’s Izzy with her mom and her boyfriend John-Mark in a small, not-so-fancy house that she loves.
Because of this, Isabella has always felt pulled between two worlds. And now that her parents are divorced, it seems their fights are even worse, and they’re always about HER. Isabella feels even more stuck in the middle, split and divided between them than ever. And she’s is beginning to realize that being split between Mom and Dad is more than switching houses, switching nicknames, switching backpacks: it’s also about switching identities. Her dad is black, her mom is white, and strangers are always commenting: “You’re so exotic!” “You look so unusual.” “But what are you really?” She knows what they’re really saying: “You don’t look like your parents.” “You’re different.” “What race are you really?” And when her parents, who both get engaged at the same time, get in their biggest fight ever, Isabella doesn’t just feel divided, she feels ripped in two. What does it mean to be half white or half black? To belong to half mom and half dad? And if you’re only seen as half of this and half of that, how can you ever feel whole?
It seems like nothing can bring Isabella’s family together again—until the worst happens. Isabella and Darren are stopped by the police. A cell phone is mistaken for a gun. And shots are fired.
This is a great contemporary, middle grade story.
Isabella feels conflicted because of all of the blending in her life. She is mixed race. She has to split her time between her divorced parents too. She often feels like she’s being torn between her parents in their arguments, but it isn’t her fault.
Isabella could escape from the difficult aspects of her life through playing the piano. It is so important to have a positive outlet and hobby. She could become her own person through her music.
There was a very upsetting scene at the end of the book which involved racial profiling. It was devastating to read about. However, this is something that happens often in our society, with unarmed people of colour being profiled just because of the colour of their skin. It was difficult to read, but it reflected an unfortunate part of real life.
This is a powerful story that I highly recommend.
What to read next:
Little Sister is Not My Name (Sassy #1) by Sharon M. Draper
Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Have you read Blended? What did you think of it?