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12 / 30 books. 40% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

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29 / 51 states. 57% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

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26 / 50 books. 52% done!

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10 / 25 books. 40% done!

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26 / 100 books. 26% done!

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68 / 104 books. 65% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

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44 / 52 books. 85% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

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74 / 165 books. 45% done!
Wednesday, December 30, 2020

MG Road Trip Novel Warm, Entertaining, and Illuminating

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

William "Scoob" Lamar is on house arrest after an incident at school for which he was wrongfully blamed.  No one will listen to his side of the story, not even his father.  Feeling resentful, the 11-year-old is only too happy to go along when his 76-year-old grandmother decides to whisk him away on an impromptu road trip.  G'ma explains that they'll be retracing the route through the South that she and Scoob's grandfather took back in 1963.  As an interracial couple, they were rarely well received and had to travel using the Negro Travelers' Green Book to know which establishments would allow them entry.  Scoob can hardly believe such a guide was necessary, but as he—a bi-racial child who presents as Black—and his white grandmother travel through the South, he notices the odd, even threatening, looks they're getting from some people.  It seems to him that maybe things haven't changed much at all in the last 50+ years.

G'ma has always been a spitfire, but as they travel, Scoob starts to notice behavior that's strange even for her.  Is there a reason she's constantly ducking Dad's phone calls?  Is her spur-of-the-moment road trip really about teaching Scoob about the Civil Rights Movement and his own history?  Or is G'ma up to something a little more ... criminal?  

Clean Getaway by Nic Stone is a warm, enjoyable novel that asks readers to consider a serious question—how far has America really progressed when it comes to race relations?  Through the experiences of Scoob and G'ma, which mirror those of G'ma and G'pa in 1963, we can come to our own conclusions.  It's an unsettling but important question that all of us, regardless of ethnicity, would do well to ponder.  Despite its weighty subject matter, Clean Getaway is a funny book as well as a surprising one.  There's plenty of humor as well as mystery and adventure to keep it interesting and appealing.  Of course, it's got thoughtful, poignant moments as well, all of which combine to create an engrossing, moving read.  In addition to powerful lessons about racism, the book also teaches kids about the importance of knowing your own history and learning from grandparents while acknowledging the messiness of family life as well as the fact that there is always more to a person than what we think we know about them.  It's an illuminating book in many ways and one I very much enjoyed.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of When I Hit the Road by Nancy J. Cavanaugh)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for difficult subject matter (racism, parental abandonment, death, etc.) and scenes of peril

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find 

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