Review: Clean Getaway

Title: Clean Getaway
Author: Nic Stone
Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Source: Library
Format: Ebook
Release Date: January 7, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From New York Times bestselling author Nic Stone comes a middle grade road-trip story through American race relations past and present perfect for fans of Jacqueline Woodson and Jason Reynolds.

How to Go on an Unplanned Road Trip with Your Grandma:
* Grab a Suitcase: Prepacked from the big spring break trip that got CANCELLED.
* Fasten Your Seatbelt: G’ma’s never conventional, so this trip won’t be either.
* Use the Green Book: G’ma’s most treasured possession. It holds, history, memories, and most important, the way home.

What Not to Bring:
* A Cell Phone: Avoid contact with Dad at all costs. Even when G’ma starts acting stranger than usual.

Set against the backdrop of the segregation history of the American South, take a trip with New York Times bestselling Nic Stone and an eleven-year-old boy who is about to discover the world hasn’t always been a welcoming place for kids like him, and things aren’t always what they seem–his G’ma included.

Review:

After getting suspended from school, Scoob’s Spring Break trip was cancelled. His grandmother, G’ma, sold her house and bought an RV to go on a special trip. Scoob sneaks out of his dad’s house and travels across multiple states with his G’ma in her new RV. Soon after they leave, she starts acting strange. She refers to Scoob by his father’s name many times. She also insists on stopping at various jewelry stores on their way. Scoob isn’t sure what their destination is, but he starts to question why G’ma has taken him on this trip.

This was such an original story. It’s a middle grade story, but it actually got quite dark at times. Perhaps that’s because I was reading it as an adult, so I picked up on the warning signs of what G’ma was doing quite early on. There were serious events in this book that were heavier than many middle grade books I’ve read.

Scoob was a black boy traveling with his white grandmother. They often got strange looks, since they weren’t the same race and didn’t appear to be related at first sight. G’ma was familiar with this reaction, because she married a black man in the 1960s. They weren’t allowed to go into certain businesses as a mixed race couple. She was even concerned about finding a doctor when she was pregnant, because she didn’t think a doctor would want to look after a white woman who was carrying a mixed race baby. This seems absurd to me, reading it from the twentieth century. It’s disturbing that this would have happened just a few decades ago. Though G’ma was white, she had a unique perspective of being in a relationship with a black man and experiencing racism because of that.

This was an original middle grade novel!

What to read next:

Blended by Sharon M. Draper

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Have you read Clean Getaway? What did you think of it?

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