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Blackbird Fly: 09/07/16

Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kelly

Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kelly is about a middle school girl trying to find her place when she's bullied at school and coddled at home. Apple and her mother live in Louisiana, having moved there from the Philippines when she was little.

Apple feels American but her mother wants her to keep her culture. The bullies in her school, though, toss every Asian stereotype on her, including calling her a dog eater. On top of that, they've put her on the Dog Log, a list of ugly girls at the school.

Apple's solace in all that is her father's music, an old tape of the Beatles. She desperately wants a guitar and she desperately wants to learn how to play their music. If I weren't a parent, I'd find this part of the book unbelievable. Except I know through my own children (including my daughter who is also learning how to play their songs) that among the youngest end of the millennials, the Beatles are incredibly popular.

The bullying feels raw and real, though the Dog Log is something I'd expect from high school. Middle school with only two grades has so much turn over there's not time for something like that list to gain such a hold that incoming students would dread it.

Four stars

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