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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Kinda Like Brothers by Coe Booth

Title: Kinda Like Brothers
Author: Coe Booth
ISBN: 9780545224963
Publisher: Scholastic
Released: August 26, 2014
Page #: 248
Source: My public library

"It was one thing when Jarrett's mom took care of foster babies who needed help. But this time it's different. This time the baby who needs help has an older brother - a kid Jarrett's age named Kevon.

Everyone thinks Jarrett and Kevon should be friends - but that's not gonna happen. Not when Kevon's acting like he's better than Jarrett - and not when Jarrett finds out that Kevon's keeping some major secrets.

Jarrett doesn't think it's fair that he has to share his room, his friends, and his life with some stranger. He's gotta do something about it - but what?"
First Lines:

"He's leaving.
He's in the corner of the room throwing stuff in that stupid army bag he got, trying to be real quiet."
Page 1

I'm pretty much a fan of anything Coe Booth puts out there. This is no exception.

Jarrett's mom is known for taking in foster babies - at any time of night. So when one of those babies comes in with a little extra baggage (aka a big brother), Jarrett realizes that his life is about to change. He has to share everything and his mom expects he and Kevon to get along famously. That's just not the case. In fact, they butt heads at every turn. Neither of them like the situation, and Jarrett cannot wait to get his normal life back.

It's so refreshing to have this sort of middle grade book. It deals with so many issues and it seems like something many kids will be able to relate to. I think some of my favorite things were about the Center. I loved that these boys were doing a step routine, that the boys decide to take yoga, that Jarrett was learning to be a film maker... I just think it's great to show them trying lots of new things and learning more about the world around them.

I think it all boils down to how relatable this book is - and how relatable I hope it is. I hope kids have a place like the Center to go. I hope there are classes happening about being how to be a good man. I hope there are mentors out there like the various men in Jarrett's life. I hope there are women like Jarrett's mom who take in and love babies who need a place to go. I really, really hope that kids who pick up this book find a little bit of themselves in Jarrett - no matter where they're from or what their lives are like.

The storyline about Jarrett struggling in school and probably failing sixth grade makes me really sad. But the thing I really liked about this was the fact that nothing was sugar-coated. He doesn't read well, he doesn't test well. This is a reality for lots of kids out there. But I hope they are able to read this kid's story and realize that there is hope for them. And that they might find comfort that they aren't the only ones.

So, I've got lots of pie-in-the-sky thinking about this book, obviously. It's well written and I think it's packed with wonderful messages. I hope others get the same feelings from it that I did. While I love the YA books that Booth writes, I sort of hope she continues writing for middle graders as well. She is very skilled at both and I look forward to whatever she's got coming in the future.
Other Blog Reviews:

Guys Lit Wire
Wandering Librarians
The One and Only Marfalfa
Running Through the Stars
Reaching Reluctant Readers
YA Books Central
Teen Librarian Toolbox
The Pirate Tree

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