Middletown

Sarah Moon, 1982-

Book - 2021

"Thirteen-year-old Eli likes baggy clothes, baseball caps, and one girl in particular. Her seventeen-year-old sister Anna is more traditionally feminine; she loves boys and staying out late. They are sisters ... Their dad has long been out of the picture, and their mom lives at the mercy of her next drink. When their mom lands herself in enforced rehab, Anna and Eli are left to fend for themselves. Eli and Anna have each gotten used to telling lies as a means of survival, but as they naviga...te a world without their mother, they must learn how to accept help, and let other people in"--

Saved in:

Children's Room Show me where

jFICTION/Moon Sarah
1 / 1 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
Children's Room jFICTION/Moon Sarah Checked In
Subjects
Genres
Novels
Published
Montclair : Levine Querido 2021.
Language
English
Physical Description
278 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9781646140428
1646140427
Main Author
Sarah Moon, 1982- (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Eli doesn't care about her appearance and is smitten with her female best friend, while her fashionable, boy-crazy sister, Anna, can be harder and more cynical. Despite their apparent differences, the two have become close after years of their alcoholic mother leaving them in the lurch. When her latest drunken outing results in the prospect of separate foster homes for the girls, they concoct a daring ruse: Anna will disguise herself as an estranged aunt and take responsibility until their mother comes home. There are social workers to avoid and friends to fool, and as the lies pile up, the scheme takes its toll. Moon's heartfelt story walks the line between humor and heartbreak, never shying away from the difficult ramifications of addiction. A diverse, fully fleshed-out cast and Eli's sexuality are appreciated features but, happily, never defining points. Tough subjects are addressed here, to be sure, including a subplot involving an abusive soccer coach, but the familial love and bonds of friendship always take things to a hopeful place. Grades 4-7. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Booklist Reviews

Eli doesn't care about her appearance and is smitten with her female best friend, while her fashionable, boy-crazy sister, Anna, can be harder and more cynical. Despite their apparent differences, the two have become close after years of their alcoholic mother leaving them in the lurch. When her latest drunken outing results in the prospect of separate foster homes for the girls, they concoct a daring ruse: Anna will disguise herself as an estranged aunt and take responsibility until their mother comes home. There are social workers to avoid and friends to fool, and as the lies pile up, the scheme takes its toll. Moon's heartfelt story walks the line between humor and heartbreak, never shying away from the difficult ramifications of addiction. A diverse, fully fleshed-out cast and Eli's sexuality are appreciated features but, happily, never defining points. Tough subjects are addressed here, to be sure, including a subplot involving an abusive soccer coach, but the familial love and bonds of friendship always take things to a hopeful place. Grades 4-7. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

When their single mother is arrested for drunk driving in their small New England town and sent to rehab, 13-year-old Eli Reynolds's sister Anna, 17, passes herself off as the siblings' estranged aunt so they can remain together. Anna struggles to make rent, while Eli hides the truth from her friends and pines for her best friend Meena, who is Indian American. As the duo's lie begins to unravel and their relationship strains, they're forced to come to terms with their mother's alcohol dependence, their complicated family history, and—most importantly—each other. Told in third person through the perspective of Eli, who identifies as "not quite a girl," Moon's (Sparrow) sophomore novel handles sensitive topics with care: it clearly conveys that the teens' mother's alcoholism is a disease, not a moral failing, without minimizing her children's experiences, including Eli's patience and Anna's anger. Its representation of siblinghood is equally nuanced, portraying a bond that rings true (in one memorable passage, Eli reflects on sometimes seeing "all the Annas" she's known at once). Though the story's emotional elements can outshine its occasionally meandering plot, this journey is a rewarding one. Ages 8–12. Agent: Molly Ker Hawn, the Bent Agency. (Apr.) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

When their single mother is arrested for drunk driving in their small New England town and sent to rehab, 13-year-old Eli Reynolds's sister Anna, 17, passes herself off as the siblings' estranged aunt so they can remain together. Anna struggles to make rent, while Eli hides the truth from her friends and pines for her best friend Meena, who is Indian American. As the duo's lie begins to unravel and their relationship strains, they're forced to come to terms with their mother's alcohol dependence, their complicated family history, and—most importantly—each other. Told in third person through the perspective of Eli, who identifies as "not quite a girl," Moon's (Sparrow) sophomore novel handles sensitive topics with care: it clearly conveys that the teens' mother's alcoholism is a disease, not a moral failing, without minimizing her children's experiences, including Eli's patience and Anna's anger. Its representation of siblinghood is equally nuanced, portraying a bond that rings true (in one memorable passage, Eli reflects on sometimes seeing "all the Annas" she's known at once). Though the story's emotional elements can outshine its occasionally meandering plot, this journey is a rewarding one. Ages 8–12. Agent: Molly Ker Hawn, the Bent Agency. (Apr.) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 6 Up—Eli, who is white and doesn't mind being mistaken for a boy, has a life of positives and negatives. Positives include her older sister, Anna, and best friends Javi, who is Puerto Rican and gay, and Meena, who is Indian American and "the prettiest girl in eighth grade." Negative is Eli's crush on Meena, because Eli thinks Meena likes boys. The biggest negative, however, is Eli's mother's alcoholism, which often results in police visits and unpaid bills. When a judge orders their mother into rehab, Anna comes to court as "Aunt Lisa," the girls' temporary guardian. Their situation worsens, though, with unpaid rent and Anna disappearing for days with her boyfriend. When social services comes calling, the girls flee—but where can they go? Moon builds a compelling picture of an impoverished family struggling with hereditary alcoholism. Coping with their mother's disease and its consequences has turned both girls into expert liars who struggle to trust anyone, and make poor decisions as a result—though both also find help and hope at Alateen. The world is well-built and the characters are distinct and believable, though Eli's penchant for snooping should have been introduced earlier. Also, the encounter with Anna's birth father feels like a wasted opportunity and adds little to the story. VERDICT This realistic portrayal of a family in crisis sugarcoats nothing, but offers conditional hope for the future.—Rebecca Moore, The Overlake Sch., Redmond, WA Copyright 2020 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Left to fend for themselves in the wake of their father’s abandonment and their mother’s enforced rehab, 13-year-old Eli and her older sister embark on a desperate effort to stay out of foster care. By the author of Sparrow.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"Thirteen-year-old Eli likes baggy clothes, baseball caps, and one girl in particular. Her seventeen-year-old sister Anna is more traditionally feminine; she loves boys and staying out late. They are sisters...Their dad has long been out of the picture, and their mom lives at the mercy of her next drink. When their mom lands herself in enforced rehab, Anna and Eli are left to fend for themselves. Eli and Anna have each gotten used to telling lies as a means of survival, but as they navigate a world without their mother, they must learn how to accept help, and let other people in"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Queer coming-of-age middle-grade novel about trust, forgiveness and self-discovery."Original, funny, rueful, and most of all, real, Middletown is an engrossing tale told by a deeply likeable tough cookie." – Emma Donoghue, award-winning author of RoomThirteen-year-old Eli likes baggy clothes, baseball caps, and one girl in particular. Her seventeen-year-old sister Anna is more traditionally feminine; she loves boys and staying out late. They are sisters, and they are also the only family each can count on. Their dad has long been out of the picture, and their mom lives at the mercy of her next drink. When their mom lands herself in enforced rehab, Anna and Eli are left to fend for themselves. With no legal guardian to keep them out of foster care, they take matters into their own hands: Anna masquerades as Aunt Lisa, and together she and Eli hoard whatever money they can find. But their plans begin to unravel as quickly as they were made, and they are always way too close to getting caught.Eli and Anna have each gotten used to telling lies as a means of survival, but as they navigate a world without their mother, they must learn how to accept help, and let other people in.Sarah Moon has crafted a thoughtful portrait of the Queer middle-grade experience.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

Queer coming-of-age middle-grade novel about trust, forgiveness and self-discovery.

"Original, funny, rueful, and most of all, real, Middletown is an engrossing tale told by a deeply likeable tough cookie." – Emma Donoghue, award-winning author of Room

Thirteen-year-old Eli likes baggy clothes, baseball caps, and one girl in particular. Her seventeen-year-old sister Anna is more traditionally feminine; she loves boys and staying out late. They are sisters, and they are also the only family each can count on. Their dad has long been out of the picture, and their mom lives at the mercy of her next drink. When their mom lands herself in enforced rehab, Anna and Eli are left to fend for themselves. With no legal guardian to keep them out of foster care, they take matters into their own hands: Anna masquerades as Aunt Lisa, and together she and Eli hoard whatever money they can find. But their plans begin to unravel as quickly as they were made, and they are always way too close to getting caught.

Eli and Anna have each gotten used to telling lies as a means of survival, but as they navigate a world without their mother, they must learn how to accept help, and let other people in.

Sarah Moon has crafted a thoughtful portrait of the Queer middle-grade experience.