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My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich: 09/14/19
My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich by Ibi Zoboi is set in Harlem in the summer before the Challenger explosion. Ebony-Grace Norfleet has been sent to spend the summer with her father after something happened with her engineer grandfather at NASA.
Ebony-Grace copes with stress by re-contextualizing the world around her in terms of her own fantasy world inspired by classic Star Trek. She is a huge fan of Nichelle Nichols, going so far as to name her spaceship the Uhura.
Being a girl from Alabama, sheltered from the rise of hip hop and rap and urban Black culture, Ebony is overwhelmed. She finds her one Harlem friend enraptured with doubled dutch, break dancing, and rap.
In between these chapters, there are also comics that show Ebony-Grace's science fiction alternate story. They're fun side stories, but sometimes feel like a distraction. So much of her take on things is already done through this filter, albeit described in words, that the pictures aren't necessary.
This middle grade historical fiction also sits on the road narrative spectrum. Ebony-Grace is introduced on an airplane, traveling by herself — thus making her an orphan traveler (FF), even though she has family at home and at her destination. Her destination is "No Joke City" aka New York City (00). Her method of travel is offroad (66), in that she is a passenger on an airplane. Altogether this novel is about an orphan traveler going to the city by an offroad means (FF0066).