One True Way
A heartening story of two girls who discover their friendship is something more. But how, among their backward town, will Sam and Allie face what they know is true about themselves? Welcome to Daniel Boone Middle School in the 1970s, where teachers and coaches must hide who they are, and girls who like girls are forced to question their own choices. Presented in the voice of a premier storyteller, One True Way sheds exquisite light on what it means to be different, while at the same time being wholly true to oneself. Through the lives and influences of two girls, readers come to see that love is love is love. Set against the backdrop of history and politics that surrounded gay rights in the 1970s South, this novel is a thoughtful, eye-opening, look at tolerance, acceptance, and change, and will widen the hearts of all readers.

One True Way Details

TitleOne True Way
Author
ReleaseFeb 27th, 2018
PublisherScholastic
ISBN-139781338181722
Rating
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, Lgbt, Historical, Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction

One True Way Review

  • Ms. Yingling
    January 1, 1970
    ARC provided by publisher upon requestIn 1977, Allie and her mother move from New Jersey to the South. Grieving over the death of her brother in a car accident and the separation and pending divorce of her parents, Allie is relieved when a popular girl, Sam, talks to her on her first day at Daniel Boone Middle School. Allie has a great interest in journalism, and through Sam's connections is given a chance to write for the school newspaper by Webb, the editor. She starts by writing an article ab ARC provided by publisher upon requestIn 1977, Allie and her mother move from New Jersey to the South. Grieving over the death of her brother in a car accident and the separation and pending divorce of her parents, Allie is relieved when a popular girl, Sam, talks to her on her first day at Daniel Boone Middle School. Allie has a great interest in journalism, and through Sam's connections is given a chance to write for the school newspaper by Webb, the editor. She starts by writing an article about Sam, interviewing her basketball coach and going to her house to meet her family. Settling into their new community, Allie's librarian mother makes the acquaintance of a local female minister as well as Sam's coach... and her roommate. Allie feels that something is different about this relationship, but Sam won't tell her anything when she asks. As Allie continues to write articles, she spends more time with Webb, who has a crush on her. Oddly, Allie feels much happier when she is around Sam, and starts to realize that she has a crush on her friend. Knowing the problems that the coach is starting to face when her sexuality is under scrutiny, Allie is uncomfortable with this, but confides in the minister and her mother about her concerns. Sam is even more concerned, because her parents are very religious, and when she talked to her pastor, she was told that how she felt was a sin. While both girls struggle with their relationships and families, they are helped by concerned adults in their lives so that they can navigate through the social mores prevalent during this time period. While more recent books are mainly concerned with incorporating LGTBQ+ characters in stories that are not necessarily focused on coming out, I realized that even though I've tried very hard to build a diverse collection, my library actually didn't have any coming out titles about lesbians other than Dee's Star-Crossed, although I may purchase Jan Petro-Roy's P.S. I Miss You (3/6/18). Nancy Garden's excellent Annie on My Mind (1982), is dated now, and Young Adult novels don't speak to the middle school experience. While this is not an #ownvoices book, Hitchcock had several sensitivity readers, and the variety of responses to the topics in the book from various characters seem realistic. The thing that I liked best about the book was that it introduced sensitive issues without putting too many value judgements on them. The was especially evident with Sam's parents involvement in the church. While this attitude is shown as being hard on Sam, there is no outright condemnation of the church, and there is another minister who is portrayed sympathetically. The parents are amicable in their divorce, keeping Allie's well being first in their thoughts. The best bit of information Sam is given is that she needs to stay safe, which was critically important in 1977 when teachers could lose their jobs if the slightest inkling of homosexuality was revealed, but is still good advice to students today. Sam has an ally in her sister, but clearly would not be safe if she continued to bring the topic of her sexuality up with her parents. The late 1970s were very different from the earlier part of the decade, and Hitchcock manages to accurately portray the social Zeitgeist while throwing in details like a boy wearing a silky shirt with sleeves rolled up and a comb in his back pocket with the handle sticking out. Yes! And I know, because, like Allie and Sam, I was a seventh grader in 1977!One True Way is a great addition to diverse middle school collections. Add it to Barakiva's One Many Guy, Federle's Better Nate Than Ever, Sayre's Husky, Wittlinger's Saturdays with Hitchock, Gino's George, Hennessey's The Other Boy, Polonsky's Gracefully Grayson, and other books that show different experiences with sexual orientation and gender identity in a way that will make middle school readers more understanding of the challenges faced by the people in the world around them.My only criticism-- the characters should have been named Lisa and Jenny. Or Pat. Or even Terry, if we wanted a more gender neutral name. I did know a few Allisons, but never knew any Samanthas. My own name was #5 in popularity for my age cohort!
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  • Kate Olson
    January 1, 1970
    ONE TRUE WAY is an accessible and relatable look at a 7th grade girl's realization that she is gay, and the surrounding homophobia in small town America in the 1970s. Hitchcock's prose is sparse, and due to its hopeful story arc, this fairly simplistic slim novel will be just what some children in our world will need at some point in their lives - access to books like this is crucial for today's youth, whether for teens who are coming out themselves or for friends of teens wrestling with this de ONE TRUE WAY is an accessible and relatable look at a 7th grade girl's realization that she is gay, and the surrounding homophobia in small town America in the 1970s. Hitchcock's prose is sparse, and due to its hopeful story arc, this fairly simplistic slim novel will be just what some children in our world will need at some point in their lives - access to books like this is crucial for today's youth, whether for teens who are coming out themselves or for friends of teens wrestling with this decision.•I don't necessarily see this book as having overwhelming literary appeal, but the message of the story about self-acceptance and the struggle to come out in a Christian family is a welcome one. The inclusion of an adult lesbian couple and differing opinions from religious leaders add depth to the story, as does the contrasting messages regarding counseling. The author's note explains that although this is not an #ownvoices story, she did have a number of sensitivity readers who helped shape her work.•Recommended for middle school libraries - grades 5 and up. The content does gravitate toward the younger side, but I am unsure at this time whether I will be purchasing for my elementary school or not. I will be purchasing for my combined middle/high school library upon publication.•Thanks to the #kidlitexchange network for this review copy ~ all opinions are my own!Delete Comment
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  • Brittany
    January 1, 1970
    I received this ARC from a local bookseller to write a review. This book will be joining my classroom. Set in the 1970's in the South, Allie deals with a lot of intense topics for this time period including divorce, the rising power of mega-churches, women's rights and the struggles many homosexual people faced in small, southern towns during this period. Through a wit and charm that'll have you forgetting her age, Allie wrestles with what it means to follow her heart and if a person can honestl I received this ARC from a local bookseller to write a review. This book will be joining my classroom. Set in the 1970's in the South, Allie deals with a lot of intense topics for this time period including divorce, the rising power of mega-churches, women's rights and the struggles many homosexual people faced in small, southern towns during this period. Through a wit and charm that'll have you forgetting her age, Allie wrestles with what it means to follow her heart and if a person can honestly choose to be gay or straight. I'm sure some critics will say the supportive teachers and friends depicted here are unrealistic and many more people would be like Ms. Johnson, but without giving too much away, I believe Hitchcock is teaching young people inclusion and equality through the voices of her characters and she does it so well.This feels like a innocent, yet complicated love story mixed with a family drama, and truly, that's the magic formula for kids ages 10-14.Fantastic.
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  • Andrew
    January 1, 1970
    An essential diverse middle grade read that I adored from start to finish. Allie and Sam become quick best friends, but question themselves when they start to develop crushes on eachother. Others in their small town don't acknowledge that two of the women teachers at their school live together, and most who do say it's wrong. But if that's true, why do Allie and Sam feel so right? Set in the 1970's, this book is not oversimplified for kids, yet maintains the sweetness and innocence of middle sch An essential diverse middle grade read that I adored from start to finish. Allie and Sam become quick best friends, but question themselves when they start to develop crushes on eachother. Others in their small town don't acknowledge that two of the women teachers at their school live together, and most who do say it's wrong. But if that's true, why do Allie and Sam feel so right? Set in the 1970's, this book is not oversimplified for kids, yet maintains the sweetness and innocence of middle school crushes.
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  • Richie Partington
    January 1, 1970
    Richie’s Picks: ONE TRUE WAY by Shannon Hitchcock, Scholastic, February 2018, 224p., ISBN: 978-1-338-18172-2“There will come a time when everybody who is lonelyWill be free to sing and dance and love”--Frank Zappa, March 1968“On Monday, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that federal law already prohibits anti-gay employment discrimination. Its 10-3 decision in Zarda v. Altitude Express is a landmark victory for gay rights, affirming the growing judicial consensus that sexual orientatio Richie’s Picks: ONE TRUE WAY by Shannon Hitchcock, Scholastic, February 2018, 224p., ISBN: 978-1-338-18172-2“There will come a time when everybody who is lonelyWill be free to sing and dance and love”--Frank Zappa, March 1968“On Monday, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that federal law already prohibits anti-gay employment discrimination. Its 10-3 decision in Zarda v. Altitude Express is a landmark victory for gay rights, affirming the growing judicial consensus that sexual orientation discrimination constitutes discrimination ‘because of sex.’”--Slate, February 2018Do you remember your first crush?“I was changing in all sorts of ways. The girl who had moved to North Carolina six weeks earlier would have never climbed on a horse’s back. That girl would have been too afraid. I felt like Wonder Woman’s kid sister!I leaned against the fence while Sam turned Penny out to pasture. I watched while she closed the gate and walked toward me. Somehow in that moment, I understood why I was jealous of Phoebe and irritated by poor Webb. I knew why I had raced to answer the phone, and why I could hardly wait to see Sam each day. I liked her. I had a crush on her. It was, to borrow a word from Webb...stupendous!‘Why do you look so serious?’ Sam asked.I reached into my back pocket and handed her the gold yarn friendship bracelet. ‘I made it out of school colors for you. Phoebe showed me how.’Sam slipped it onto her wrist. ‘See? A perfect fit.’I reached out and touched her arm just above the bracelet. ‘Do you like Phoebe more than me?’‘I like all my friends.’But that wasn’t what I was asking.Sam turned and stared directly into my eyes. ‘I don’t like anybody as much as you.’My heart hammered so hard I could barely breathe.”ONE TRUE WAY takes place during the fall of 1977, back in the Stone Age of LGBTQ rights. It’s narrated by twelve-year-old Allie Drake, whose big brother’s recent death in an auto accident has led to her parent’s breakup and, in turn, to her mother relocating with Allie to North Carolina. There, at Daniel Boone Middle School, Allie meets the popular and athletic Samantha (Sam) Johnson. Sam has known that she’s gay since experiencing a crush in second grade. ONE TRUE WAY is framed around a trio of same-sex relationships: Allie’s paternal uncle Jeffrey and his male partner, neither of whom we meet, live together up north. Coach Murphy and English teacher Miss Holt, we learn, are secretly a lesbian couple. And, potentially, Allie and Sam.There is plenty of parental tension: Sam’s fundamentalist parents consider homosexuals to be perverts and abominations, and they already suspect the truth about their daughter. Allie’s parents are living a thousand miles apart and Allie is longing for a reconciliation.Allie briefly experiments with trying to think and act heterosexual, but it’s clear that she can’t rewire herself to conform. Fortunately for Allie and Sam, there are a lot of enlightened and supportive adults in this otherwise backward, rural, 1970’s town. Unfortunately, two of those supporters are Coach Murphy and Miss Holt who are being forced out of their jobs, having been offered a good recommendation in exchange for going away.Interestingly, in doing a bit of research on the subject, I learned that a few months after this story is set, President Jimmy Carter traveled to California and spoke out against the Briggs Initiative, which would have banned gays, lesbians, and anyone who spoke out in favor of gay rights from teaching in California public schools. Fortunately, it failed.I can recall, at the end of sixth grade, feeling something special toward a girl for the first time. I’ve often wondered what it was like for my grown-up gay and lesbian friends to first realize that they were attracted to those of the same sex. There aren’t many age-appropriate stories for upper elementary and middle school students that explore this aspect of coming of age.It’s fulfilling, in the wake of this week’s landmark judicial decision, to be able to read about the past, know that the law is henceforth on the side of fairness and inclusivity, and recognize that--at least in large swaths of America--middle school kids coming to know themselves today don’t have to face what high school friends of mine faced back in our day.Nevertheless, in her Afterword, the author cites a source stating that “‘suicide is the leading cause of death among Gay and Lesbian youth nationally.’” Not only is it essential that young people have the opportunity to see themselves in books like this, but it is important for the rest of us to become enlightened about what they are experiencing.Richie Partington, MLISRichie's Picks http://richiespicks.pbworks.comhttps://www.facebook.com/richiespicks/[email protected]
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  • Barbara
    January 1, 1970
    Seventh grader Allison (Allie) Drake has just moved to North Carolina in 1977 with her mother and is attending Daniel Boone Middle School. Her family is fractured due to the death of her older brother Eric, and her parents are separated. Allie is trying to pull her life back together while dealing with her mother's fears and overprotective nature. She quickly finds a place on the school newspaper and gets to know several classmates, aided by the friendly and welcoming Samantha Johnson, a basketb Seventh grader Allison (Allie) Drake has just moved to North Carolina in 1977 with her mother and is attending Daniel Boone Middle School. Her family is fractured due to the death of her older brother Eric, and her parents are separated. Allie is trying to pull her life back together while dealing with her mother's fears and overprotective nature. She quickly finds a place on the school newspaper and gets to know several classmates, aided by the friendly and welcoming Samantha Johnson, a basketball star that everyone seems to like. Sam is kind and comfortable in her own skin, and eventually Allie realizes that her friend is gay and that she is attracted to Sam too as more than a friend. But Sam's family is very conservative, and they are members of One True Way, a religious group that has no tolerance for gay individuals. Even while fending off the romantic intentions of Webster, the newspaper editor who has a crush on her, Allie is torn between her true feelings and possibly hurting her mother and the safe path that means hiding her feelings and identity. There were moments in this touching story that made me wince in anticipation of judgmental comments and attitudes, but overall, except for Sam's parents, the therapist and minister that Allie confided in were calm, nonjudgmental, and gave helpful advice. Readers will quickly realize that there is a special relationship between Coach and Miss Holt, and how for the most part, the community looked the other way, but once the Johnsons--or at least Mrs. Johnson--felt threatened by that relationship and how it might impact their daughter, that open secret suddenly jeopardized their livelihood. The book might seem dated by today's standards, but it does offer an important historical perspective on the progress that has been in this arena as well as just how hard it once was/still is to be true to oneself in certain areas. Readers will close the book, certain that there is no one true way to love or to worship, for that matter. This is a solid addition to a collection exploring identity, sexuality, and loss. Being different or embracing one's differences is never easy to do, but these two girls show readers the way. While there is no happy ending and there are still unresolved issues, there is still hope once readers reach the final pages.
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  • Hallie
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for the review copy of this book--all opinions are my own.One True Way is a middle grade novel set in 1977 about being true to yourself. Allie is a seventh grader trying to deal with her feelings for another girl, moving to a new place, and getting used to her recently separated parents. Allie's recently moved to North Carolina from New Jersey after her brother died in a car accident and her parents decided to live separately.  Allie and her mother find comf Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for the review copy of this book--all opinions are my own.One True Way is a middle grade novel set in 1977 about being true to yourself. Allie is a seventh grader trying to deal with her feelings for another girl, moving to a new place, and getting used to her recently separated parents. Allie's recently moved to North Carolina from New Jersey after her brother died in a car accident and her parents decided to live separately.  Allie and her mother find comfort in their new town through church and building friendships. Allie also finds some sense of normalcy again when she meets Sam, an all-star athlete and friend to everyone.  Allie and Sam start to have complicated feelings for each other. Allie hasn't had feelings for another girl before and she's worried about what will happen when people find out. One True Way is a middle school romance about finding the courage to be yourself. This book prominently featured Allie's relationship to her religion in a positive light. Both Allie and her mother seek guidance from the local Methodist minister, Reverend Walker. Allie struggles with her feelings for Sam because she isn't sure how having feelings for another girl fits into her spirituality and Christian religion. Sam's mother, who found out Sam had feelings for another girl in the past, has made it very clear that she thinks homosexuality is unacceptable and a sin. But what does Allie's fairly liberal mother think? Throughout the book, Allie tries to confront her feelings, her religion's teachings on homosexuality, and her mother's perspective. This book carefully and sensitively includes Christianity in a thoughtful discussion on identity. It provides a mirror for gay Christian kids who feel hurt by being left out and sometimes shunned by their religion. Allie finds so much love from her church and her family. The book also positively features counseling, both religious and secular, as a tool for mental health. One True Way also highlights historical information about how homosexuality was perceived in the past. Allie gets advice from a lesbian teacher and her reverend that her and Sam's safety is important to consider before coming out in the 1970s. Sam's home life is not currently conducive to her coming out because her mother is homophobic, while Allie's home life allows her to explore her feelings more. Hitchcock offers many perspectives on religion, safe spaces, and letting yourself blossom. This is an excellent addition to middle school collections.
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  • Paul Hankins
    January 1, 1970
    Over the weekend, I got a chance to read Shannon Hitchcock's newest. Set in 1977 North Carolina, ONE TRUE WAY tells the story of Allie, a new student to Daniel Boone Middle School. One of the first students she meets is the friendly and widely-connected Sam. Sam sets forth a series of meetings for Allie one of which puts the brand new students on the DB newspaper staff. But much of what could be news is carefully kept out of wraps. Away from peering eyes and the pages of the paper. And given the Over the weekend, I got a chance to read Shannon Hitchcock's newest. Set in 1977 North Carolina, ONE TRUE WAY tells the story of Allie, a new student to Daniel Boone Middle School. One of the first students she meets is the friendly and widely-connected Sam. Sam sets forth a series of meetings for Allie one of which puts the brand new students on the DB newspaper staff. But much of what could be news is carefully kept out of wraps. Away from peering eyes and the pages of the paper. And given the time frame, this is most necessary for those involved. As Allie and Sam's friendship grows into something that looks like a crush moving toward love, there are questions that must be answered. Allie comes from a family that has been broken by loss. Allie's mother has taken a job as the local librarian which puts her into contact with what will become a support circle around the two protagonist. But, the loss of Allie's brother has made that circle even smaller with a mother who is protective of her daughter while being open to the expressions of love that she observes around her. Sam's parents are more fundamental and Sam lives in an environment wherein she hears each and every day what the Bible says about homosexuals. As Allie and Sam grow closer, they are pulled into the middle of faith and fidelity. Of the absences of fathers and the teachings of the Father. Hitchcock weaves into her narrative a wonderful and compassionate minister who presents the delicate balance of the teachings of the church and the leanings of the heart. One of the gifts of having read this book is to have made contact with the real-life Reverend Walker and this has been a real blessing. She is a character within the book not to be missed. Hitchcock also presents within Allie's father, Mr. Drake, a broken and hurting patriarch who is able to suspend what he needs to heal to address the needs of his daughter's heart to love and to love freely. He is not a character to be missed for his presentation of responsiveness and sensitivity. This book is a celebration of teachers as well in the two in the story who coach and befriend the two protagonists. No spoilers, but the treatment of these teachers is a direct allusion to the time period of the story. As an LGBTQ text, ONE TRUE WAY should be appreciated by readers as a comment on how far we have come as a culture. Allie and Sam are coming out just as the country would come into the deeper misunderstandings of homosexuality of the 80's and early 90's. The story is a trip back in time to love in a time of intolerance. ONE TRUE WAY is, in my opinion, the TWO BOYS KISSING for middle great readers. With nods to young adult titles like THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST, Hitchcock's story should be on the reading radar of those working with younger readers.
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  • Jenni Frencham
    January 1, 1970
    Allie and her mom move to the South after her brother dies in a car accident and her dad separates from her mom. Allie meets Sam at school, and quickly learns that Sam likes girls and that Allie herself also likes girls. But this is 1977, and it's not safe for girls who like girls to advertise this fact. Allie discovers that two of her female teachers are also not just roommates. She and her mom seek advice from their church regarding Allie's sexuality.What I Liked: The book reads as a solid mid Allie and her mom move to the South after her brother dies in a car accident and her dad separates from her mom. Allie meets Sam at school, and quickly learns that Sam likes girls and that Allie herself also likes girls. But this is 1977, and it's not safe for girls who like girls to advertise this fact. Allie discovers that two of her female teachers are also not just roommates. She and her mom seek advice from their church regarding Allie's sexuality.What I Liked: The book reads as a solid middle grade story. It's told in a simple matter. Religion is featured prominently but is not mocked. What I Didn't Like: The 1970s setting makes this read more like a memoir for Generation X adults rather than a book for middle grade students. There are so many things that date this story - Allie's use of a typewriter, the mimeographed notes that Sam receives from a friend, even simple things like Allie's choice to change into a dress before dinner. These date markers almost mark this as historical fiction, but the topic itself rates this as a contemporary book. I think it would have been more successful as a memoir aimed at adults rather than a cute middle grade story with an important message hidden in a very dated wrapper. Recommended for: adults, really; middle gradeRed Flags: noneOverall Rating: 4/5 starsRead-Alikes: Annie on My Mind
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    I ordered this book to fill a gap in my classroom library. I first heard about it through Twitter.My classroom library does lack in romances. This year I'm teaching 6th grade. At the beginning of the year, the students tend not to be interested in romance. We are now at Spring Break and the students are changing. There's an arising interest in romance. By the end of the year, the majority of my students will be "dating," much to their parents' horror.The kid in this story reminds me of my studen I ordered this book to fill a gap in my classroom library. I first heard about it through Twitter.My classroom library does lack in romances. This year I'm teaching 6th grade. At the beginning of the year, the students tend not to be interested in romance. We are now at Spring Break and the students are changing. There's an arising interest in romance. By the end of the year, the majority of my students will be "dating," much to their parents' horror.The kid in this story reminds me of my students. They begin school not much interested in romance. She sounds as innocent as my students. She's had a rough time, as many of them do, with the death of a sibling and the impending divorce of her parents. (Parents' divorces and braces seem almost mandatory for middle school.) Then the magical moment occurs and she becomes interested in romance.I connected with the wanting to be a "good girl" and the drawings in the chapter headings. I remember drawing those. Only the flower drawings were missing. I also remember how it felt when I realized that adults were disappointing me because they were so involved in their own pain that they couldn't recognize mine. In other words, despite myself, I connected.I'll probably get in trouble when I put this in my classroom library but it's worth it. If I have to carry heterosexual romances, then I have to carry homosexual romances. It's only fair. And this one, I believe, was deftly handled.
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  • Kelsey McLane
    January 1, 1970
    What a great way to reach teens and tweens about LGBTQ relationships. Allie and Sam are completely lovable characters that are not only trying to sort out their feelings, but also trying to be who they are living in the South with many people who find gay people to be abominations. Readers will be able to connect with both girls as they traverse their middle school lives.
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  • Eva
    January 1, 1970
    I was surprised by how good this ended up being - I expected a fairly formulaic book about Issues, but it was actually a sweet story. The 70s references were a little heavy handed at times, but that's to be expected for a middle grade novel I guess. I really appreciated how the kids were allowed to have feelings and they were valid - even though the adults in the story, true to form, kept trying to invalidate them. Whether or not an identity crisis is a 'phase' or not, kids and young adults dese I was surprised by how good this ended up being - I expected a fairly formulaic book about Issues, but it was actually a sweet story. The 70s references were a little heavy handed at times, but that's to be expected for a middle grade novel I guess. I really appreciated how the kids were allowed to have feelings and they were valid - even though the adults in the story, true to form, kept trying to invalidate them. Whether or not an identity crisis is a 'phase' or not, kids and young adults deserve to have their thoughts and feelings respected just as much, and honestly - pretty much all of life is made up of 'phases' so saying something is 'just a phase' is like saying parts of your identity and life don't matter or shouldn't matter. I also appreciated how there were various religious figures in the story that really detailed both sides of the issue, and how it really encouraged both the main characters and the reader to read the Bible and pray and come to your own conclusion rather than simply parroting others.
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  • Kendra Lee
    January 1, 1970
    Writing about middle grades friendships/love-type interests can be tricky at best. Adults tend to want to over-simplify kids. But the primary characters in One True Way get to experience the full range of emotions. And it's both exhilarating and painful to watch. Then again, so is real life when you are in middle school. When I was growing up, I had no model for what LGBTQ kids might feel or experience. I wish I had. Relatable LGBTQ characters break down barriers, make LGBTQ kids seem real and s Writing about middle grades friendships/love-type interests can be tricky at best. Adults tend to want to over-simplify kids. But the primary characters in One True Way get to experience the full range of emotions. And it's both exhilarating and painful to watch. Then again, so is real life when you are in middle school. When I was growing up, I had no model for what LGBTQ kids might feel or experience. I wish I had. Relatable LGBTQ characters break down barriers, make LGBTQ kids seem real and so very much like their straight counterparts. Because they are. Watching middle school students (ALL middle school students, regardless of orientation) fumble through their first relationship is a bit cringe-worthy. But stories about first-loves make kids feel less alone. They normalize these huge, outsized feeling they are experiencing. And they let them know that other kids have lived through this, too. So will they.Many LGBTQ kids aren't supported by their parents. To watch a character go through the same hurt, and to hear the wise counsel of understanding adults, can be life-saving for an LGBTQ kid. For kids who don't have access to real life adults who will love them anyway, the grown-ups in One True Way do a fine job of exploring the ways in which adults sometimes grapple with the question of homosexuality. There is tremendous honesty in having adults experience a wide range of emotions and have a wide range of responses. While we may wish parents always chose to love their LGBTQ child, sometimes they don't. Seeing a character experience that and persevere anyway--well, that's power for a kid. If I'd had this book as a middle schooler, so much of my pain (and my questions about my own sexuality) would've been alleviated. If I'd had this book, I might not have spent so much time in agony over what the church said about who I was. This book makes clear that there are so many ways to theorize about God's thoughts on LGBTQ folks--but that for some Christians, love--real love without conditions, God's kind of love--is really the only answer.
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  • Serena
    January 1, 1970
    I was partial to this book for many reasons. I'm queer and very interested in LGBTQ literature for children, it takes place in the seventies and there is a religious component. The religious component in the story is very sobering since many youth and adults still face this today. Allie has gone through extreme loss in the the last year as her older brother Eric died in a car accident and her parents are going through a divorce. She has moved with her librarian mother to a small town in North Ca I was partial to this book for many reasons. I'm queer and very interested in LGBTQ literature for children, it takes place in the seventies and there is a religious component. The religious component in the story is very sobering since many youth and adults still face this today. Allie has gone through extreme loss in the the last year as her older brother Eric died in a car accident and her parents are going through a divorce. She has moved with her librarian mother to a small town in North Carolina and she meets Sam, all around fantastic girl who excels in basketball, horses, and people. Allie realizes she is gay when she falls for Sam and this novel shows how she begins to navigate a journey that will be anything but easy. But finding your happiness is never easy.
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  • Kathy
    January 1, 1970
    Like her highly regarded RUBY LEE & ME, Shannon Hitchcock’s newest, ONE TRUE WAY is historical fiction mixed with some true-to-life elements from her own life. For me, this mixture of elements creates a highly accessible view into history that tugs at the heart. For this novel, Shannon delves into the setting of the late 1970s as Anita Bryant's SAVE OUR CHILDREN campaign traveled the country with messages to deny equal rights to homosexuals. ONE TRUE WAY is about a first crush between Allie Like her highly regarded RUBY LEE & ME, Shannon Hitchcock’s newest, ONE TRUE WAY is historical fiction mixed with some true-to-life elements from her own life. For me, this mixture of elements creates a highly accessible view into history that tugs at the heart. For this novel, Shannon delves into the setting of the late 1970s as Anita Bryant's SAVE OUR CHILDREN campaign traveled the country with messages to deny equal rights to homosexuals. ONE TRUE WAY is about a first crush between Allie Drake and Sam Johnson who meet at Daniel Boone Middle School. The plot mines the emotions and lives of typical middles schoolers via our main characters: popularity, parent problems, shifting friendships, teachers, and even church. Yet this book transcends those issues as it explores the strong friendship that turns to first love between two girls. An added plus is the realistic way author Hitchcock portrays adults and their reactions to Allie and Sam. (There is no one pat reaction. Also note this IS middle grade; the plot follows suit. There is a huge difference in writing about homosexuality from a MG perspective - the biggest is there is no sex, just one kiss.)If you’ve enjoyed Tim Federele’s duology on the titular Nate – BETTER NATE THAN EVER AND FIVE, SIX, SEVEN, NATE! – this is your next read.
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  • Brittany
    January 1, 1970
    I like that this fills a niche and that the author wrote it with that in mind because there are not many books for younger teens or kids about coming out or being gay. I found this to be a bit simple and one of the characters really annoyed me and the entire religious angle may turn some off, but it's besides the point because this wasn't written for me. I'm happy to have this as a recommendation should I ever need it.
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  • Sarah Hadd
    January 1, 1970
    A cute book with LGBT characters that could actually be appropriate for middle grades! That doesn’t happen often. A bit too many biblical references, but that may have to do with it being set in the 1970’s.
  • Mary Lee
    January 1, 1970
    Not #ownvoices, but the sensitively told story of what it feels like for a girl to start to understand that she is attracted to girls, not boys. Strong adult mentors (two gay teachers in her school who eventually have to quit their jobs and leave town -- it's 1977, after all) help her navigate.
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  • Patrick
    January 1, 1970
    Set in the 1970’s. Two middle school girls deal with their sexuality and the reactions of others.
  • love, trish
    January 1, 1970
    maybe allie drake staff reporter snapped
  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    Friggin' LOVE this book. The characters, the setting, the plot, the style--everything about it is honest and accessible to middle-graders. Recommend highly.
  • Megan Schmelzer
    January 1, 1970
    Open Book Reviews by Megan Schmelzerwww.openbookreviews.orgGrowing up is hard for everyone. It's the fight to balance one's youth with the inabilities to be taken seriously because of the limit that comes with young age. Then, you add on hopes, dreams, and aspirations. Let's not forget to throw in a family, friendships, and one's crush. Quickly, you can see how things become complicated and hard to balance. We get it. We were there. We had to learn to balance all that was on our plates.But for s Open Book Reviews by Megan Schmelzerwww.openbookreviews.orgGrowing up is hard for everyone. It's the fight to balance one's youth with the inabilities to be taken seriously because of the limit that comes with young age. Then, you add on hopes, dreams, and aspirations. Let's not forget to throw in a family, friendships, and one's crush. Quickly, you can see how things become complicated and hard to balance. We get it. We were there. We had to learn to balance all that was on our plates.But for some youth, things are harder to balance. They instead are faced with difficult situations. Situations that are often unfair and way beyond what they should be even dealing with at their young ages. Situations like hard home lives, loss of loved ones, or questions about things deep within themselves.One True Way by Shannon Hitchcock tells the story of two girls that are struggling with questions about themselves and their sexuality. They each have questions and truths that they know would bring shame to their families and provide each of them with difficult futures.One True Way is a story set during the 1970’s. It is based on the lives of Allie and Sam as they navigate the challenges of growing up in a conservative town in South Carolina.From the moment they meet, Allie and Sam just click. They just get each other, and they quickly become inseparable.It takes a while, but soon, Allie and Sam come to terms and admitted to each other why they feel connected. They are in love, and now they have to find a way to be together. But, they also have to find a way to be accepted in their ultra-conservative community.I am a true believer that the books within a child's life should reflect who they are and what they are going through within their lives. To me, that means it is my responsibility as an educator to have a diverse classroom library. My classroom needs to be full of books about all different races, ethnicities, genders, cultures, and sexualities.Many teachers would shy away from bringing in books that feature LGBTQ characters, but I say bring them in. You have students in your classroom, or school, that are struggling with figuring who they are. They should have access to stories about characters that are going through the challenges that they themselves are facing. Stories are safe, and they provide our students with an ability to connect and feel understood. My greatest tip when adding diverse literature into your classroom is to always, always preread the story. Stories that take on gender, race, ethnic, or sexuality topics often are written for a more mature classroom. Make sure you read the books in order to make sure they are well-written and appropriate for your classroom. For example, One True Way, never utilizes any inappropriate language. The two main characters only hold hands and admit their love for each other. This book would do great in a classroom. It takes on an issue and it remains respectful to the readers. Books are making huge strides and more and more well-written and appropriate books that take on all issues are entering the book world, and they must-must enter our classrooms!
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  • Diana Sharp
    January 1, 1970
    Let’s be honest: talking with children about sexuality makes some adults (this reviewer included) uncomfortable. And for some adults, that’s even more true when the topic is homosexuality. But there should be no doubt that when parents and children are ready for these discussions, it’s important that they have access to age-appropriate, sensitive, and non-judgmental portrayals of people and their feelings, including fictional portrayals in high-quality children’s literature. And that’s why it’s Let’s be honest: talking with children about sexuality makes some adults (this reviewer included) uncomfortable. And for some adults, that’s even more true when the topic is homosexuality. But there should be no doubt that when parents and children are ready for these discussions, it’s important that they have access to age-appropriate, sensitive, and non-judgmental portrayals of people and their feelings, including fictional portrayals in high-quality children’s literature. And that’s why it’s important to know about One True Way.Shannon Hitchcock is a master of the less-is-more style of writing, paring language to its essentials and weaving her clear, spare prose into instantly believable characters, places, and dialogue that pull readers quickly into the story. One True Way is narrated by twelve-year-old Allie Drake, who has just moved to rural North Carolina with her mother. Allie needs all the pluck she can muster to build a new life at her new middle school. Her determination to make friends and work on the school newspaper get a huge boost when she meets the school’s most popular and likable student, Samantha, known by everyone as “Sam.” Sam not only smooths Allie’s way to the newspaper job, she immediately becomes the kind of friend that Allie desperately needs to confide in about her brother’s recent death and her parents’ separation. Their friendship intensifies quickly, and Allie develops the feelings of a puppy-love crush on Sam. It’s 1977, and the Anita Bryant campaign against homosexuals is in full swing, so when Sam reveals to Allie the same feelings of attraction, they agree to keep their mutual crush a secret. But the secret gets revealed, and Allie struggles with questions like, “Am I gay?” and “Is that wrong?” Additional questions become layered in as Allie watches how the relationship between two of the school’s female teachers causes a stir among members of the town’s most conservative church. She also sees how this example of intolerance is countered in perspective by a message of love and acceptance from her own minister of the Methodist congregation.As a middle grade novel (aimed at ages 9-12), One True Way deals with the feelings and issues of its topic without depicting any physical experimentation between the girls beyond hand holding. That should reassure adults who want to recommend a book to families looking for this theme, but don’t want to recommend something that could offend with overly mature scenes of physical sex. Offering gentle support for children who may have feelings and questions similar to Allie’s, One True Way can provide the comfort of good story well told, for a shared reading experience that leads to open and honest conversations between children and those who love them. Highly recommend.
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    One True Way✨By Shannon Hitchcock✨@kidlitexchange #partner Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for the review copy of this book – all opinions are our own.✨This historical fiction book takes place in a small North Carolina town in the mid 70’s. If the setting was present day, we can hope it would be a different story and I’m sure in some ways it would, but in other ways, unfortunately it m probably be very similar. Allie meets Sam on her first day at her new middle school. Samantha is a very p One True Way✨By Shannon Hitchcock✨@kidlitexchange #partner Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for the review copy of this book – all opinions are our own.✨This historical fiction book takes place in a small North Carolina town in the mid 70’s. If the setting was present day, we can hope it would be a different story and I’m sure in some ways it would, but in other ways, unfortunately it m probably be very similar. Allie meets Sam on her first day at her new middle school. Samantha is a very popular girl who is friends with everyone from the “debs” to the “jocks” and everyone in between. Very soon into their friendship, Allie and Sam realize they like each other - really like each other. This friendship quickly leads to problems of acceptance with both of their families. ✨I admired the way Allie’s mother and dad faced and accepted Allie’s feelings, even though they had many concerns about her being gay. Rather than refusing to accept who Allie was, they all began to attend family counseling. Not only did the family need to better understand Allie, but they also needed to learn how to accept Allie’s brother’s recent death in a car accident, as well as her mom and dad’s impending divorce. Even though all of these issues were so difficult, it was encouraging to see the love and concern they all had for one another. ✨I also appreciated that the story included so many caring adults who were ready to support both Allie and Sam, and to help them as they learned more about themselves. I would hope this would encourage kids who read this book to know that there are sure to be caring adults in their world they can confide in, whether it is a teacher, a coach, a minister or a parent.✨This story offers a window into the challenges children face, not only as they let others know they are gay, but also to understand how difficult it is for the young people to bravely accept themselves. It also offers an important mirror to students who are beginning to understand and accept that they are gay. It offers the reassurance they are okay and they are not alone. ✨This is a valuable book that should be in middle school libraries, as well as counselors’ offices.
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  • Hollowspine
    January 1, 1970
    Historical fiction/bildungsroman set in a small southern town. Allie has a lot of frustrating changes going on in her life, her brother died in a car accident, her parents are getting divorced and her mom has moved them to from New Jersey to North Carolina. A lot of big changes for someone just starting middle school.Allie is ready to start fresh, get a new identity, and that starts with getting a job on the school paper. One of her big goals in life is to become a reporter. From the first day S Historical fiction/bildungsroman set in a small southern town. Allie has a lot of frustrating changes going on in her life, her brother died in a car accident, her parents are getting divorced and her mom has moved them to from New Jersey to North Carolina. A lot of big changes for someone just starting middle school.Allie is ready to start fresh, get a new identity, and that starts with getting a job on the school paper. One of her big goals in life is to become a reporter. From the first day Sam, a girl in her class, helps her out, introducing her to kids on the school paper, including the editor Webb as well as helping her to make other friends at the school. During the school year Allie starts coming to realizations about herself and Sam. She feels so happy when Sam's around, more than she feels when she's with her friend Webb. She struggles with accepting her feelings for what they are and tries to conform to the heteronormative expectations of her mother, but also gets advice from two teachers at her school who have hidden their relationship for fear of their jobs as well as the minister at the local church.I liked that even though readers see that Sam's family will not accept her due to their religious beliefs we are also presented with a religious character who is accepting. I also liked that even though Allie's mom was more liberal in her beliefs and had other LGBTQ family members and friends, she still had some hurdles she had to overcome before she fully accepted that Allie was lesbian, but yet she still was supportive of Allie and in the end fully accepts her. It shows how important safe spaces and supportive family members are for all children in their development. The authors end note also underlines the importance of giving support to LGBTQIA+ youth. This book would be great to middle grade readers as they start to develop more adult feelings and are looking for role models and answers to their questions and feelings.
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  • Laura Gardner
    January 1, 1970
    @kidlitexchange #partner⭐⭐⭐⭐💫/5 for ONE TRUE WAY by @hitchcock_shannon. Thx to @scholasticinc for sharing this ARC with #kidlitexchange. All opinions are my own. This book releases 2/27/18 and I will be buying a copy for my middle school library. _*_*_*_*_*Swipe for the summary from the back of the book!_*_*_*_*_*This is first and foremost a middle grade romance. Sam is fun, well-liked and friendly; Allie falls for her instantly even though she never knew she liked girls before. The speed with w @kidlitexchange #partner⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫/5 for ONE TRUE WAY by @hitchcock_shannon. Thx to @scholasticinc for sharing this ARC with #kidlitexchange. All opinions are my own. This book releases 2/27/18 and I will be buying a copy for my middle school library. _*_*_*_*_*Swipe for the summary from the back of the book!_*_*_*_*_*This is first and foremost a middle grade romance. Sam is fun, well-liked and friendly; Allie falls for her instantly even though she never knew she liked girls before. The speed with which they become friends and then a little more than friends feels completely natural; their connection is strong and well-written. The fact that the romance is between two girls should not be a big deal, but in the 1970s south it is. Sam's family is intensely religious and even Allie's seemingly-liberal librarian mother from New Jersey has trouble with the idea that her daughter likes girls. Allie is confused about her feelings, too and tries to deny them, but eventually can't. Hitchcock has written a sensitive, thoughtful novel about accepting yourself and others. This short (just 205 pages) historical fiction novel will be perfect for putting the #LGBT struggle in perspective for young middle grade readers. I do think this book skews young; I would recommend it for grades 3 - 6. _*_*_*_*_*#bookstagram #book #reading #bibliophile #bookworm #bookaholic #booknerd #bookgram #librarian #librariansfollowlibrarians #librariansofinstagram #booklove #booktography #bookstagramfeature #bookish #bookaddict #booknerdigans #booknerd #ilovereading #instabook #futurereadylibs #ISTElibs #TLChat
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  • Elise
    January 1, 1970
    Overall I really enjoyed this story - though, since historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, I had an issue with the fact that the historical setting ('70s) had little to no impact on the narrative, with the exception that the characters don't have cell phones and so communication isn't as easy as it might otherwise have been. That's something I've encountered a lot recently in middle grade historical fiction, sometimes it feels like the author places a book in the recent past without tr Overall I really enjoyed this story - though, since historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, I had an issue with the fact that the historical setting ('70s) had little to no impact on the narrative, with the exception that the characters don't have cell phones and so communication isn't as easy as it might otherwise have been. That's something I've encountered a lot recently in middle grade historical fiction, sometimes it feels like the author places a book in the recent past without truly thinking about the way in which the time period affects the characters. That said, I did like the characters and thought the relationship between the two girls developed naturally - from interest, to friendship, to maybe-a-crush, to definitely-a-crush-and-what-does-that-MEAN? I did think it read a little young for middle school - the characters are in seventh grade, but the writing felt like it was intended for slightly younger kids, maybe 4th-7th graders rather than 5th-8th. Uncomplicated sentence structure and the stakes were kind of low. The church, from which the title comes, is kind of a boogeyman in the background. We never see the characters attend a service, we never meet any representatives, the worst they do is send a strongly worded letter to the school. I wish the church had either be presented as an overt threat, as the author intended (at least to more seriously disrupt family harmony), or that a nuanced view of religious perceptions of homosexuality had been on display. We do see a very tolerant Methodist pastor, but we don't get a similar look at intolerance, which I think is why the book read so young. Like the audience was being shielded from just how ugly hate could be.
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  • Andrea
    January 1, 1970
    PlotIt's the 1970s, Allie and her mother have just moved to a new town. Her father and mother have split following the death of their son. On the first day of school, Sam immediately takes Allie under her wing and introduces her to everyone, and even gets Allie on the newspaper writing staff. Sam is different, and after finding out that their teacher Miss Holt and gym teacher Coach Murphy are a lesbian couple, Allie is pretty sure they have that difference in common. Sam has strict Christian par PlotIt's the 1970s, Allie and her mother have just moved to a new town. Her father and mother have split following the death of their son. On the first day of school, Sam immediately takes Allie under her wing and introduces her to everyone, and even gets Allie on the newspaper writing staff. Sam is different, and after finding out that their teacher Miss Holt and gym teacher Coach Murphy are a lesbian couple, Allie is pretty sure they have that difference in common. Sam has strict Christian parents who are trying to get Coach Murphy removed from the school for being gay, which scares Sam from wanting to come out. When Allie's mom won't accept the idea of Allie liking Sam, Allie tries to turn her feelings toward her editor, Webb, which hurts Sam's feelings. Now they need to figure out how to be true to themselves, their religions, and their parents without hurting anyone.ReviewThis felt like an after school special, and the lines felt really cheesy and poorly done. And while it's not an own-voices story, the author states that she based it off of finding out her own childhood friend was gay. I liked the idea of the story, but just did not find it to be well executed. For example, it's set in the 1970s and the only actual context for that include the lack of technology and the inclusion of pop culture references that I sure as heck didn't understand as a 31 year old, and I doubt middle schoolers would either [I did Google a few things, so they can too I suppose]. I seriously kept hearing the lame music and bad acting of an after school special the whole time I read this, but while I didn't enjoy it there may be students interested in reading it.Appropriate for 4-7thWASHYARG Mar 2018
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  • Paula Greathouse
    January 1, 1970
    "One True Way" is a middle grades young adult novel told through the first-person lens of a middle schooler as she encounters her first crush. After the sudden, tragic loss of her older brother, Allie finds herself navigating a great deal of change in a short time – new town, new home, and her parents’ recent separation compound her personal grief. On her first day of school at Daniel Boone Middle, she encounters Sam – a classmate who quickly becomes her closest friend and confidante. As Allie g "One True Way" is a middle grades young adult novel told through the first-person lens of a middle schooler as she encounters her first crush. After the sudden, tragic loss of her older brother, Allie finds herself navigating a great deal of change in a short time – new town, new home, and her parents’ recent separation compound her personal grief. On her first day of school at Daniel Boone Middle, she encounters Sam – a classmate who quickly becomes her closest friend and confidante. As Allie grows to learn more about her new town and her new friend, she discovers feelings she can no longer deny – feelings that help her to uncover her one true self – feelings that lead her to take action for change. Set in the south in 1977, Hitchcock tells the tale of two girls who find themselves navigating a time period in which politics, society, and religion were not on their side. As they come of age, and discover their growing affections for one another, they must also find the courage to share their true selves with those who might not be accepting.This book provides readers insight into the challenges our gay youth face in accepting their own feelings and true identities given a stigma that, despite the passing of time and policy, still lingers within today’s communities. This text encourages readers to reflect on ways they they can help youth, all youth, feel safe to reflect and examine their own identities without fear of judgment or ridicule. A MUST read for all middle schoolers, middle school teachers, and parents/guardians of middle school students!
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  • Pam Williams
    January 1, 1970
    A lovely book about young love between two middle school girls. I ordered this book for my school library because I am always on the lookout for books that explore LGBT themes in a sensitive and realistic but not too graphic manner. This book is that and more. Allie meets Sam on her first day at her new school and a friendship is instantly formed. Sam knows everyone and makes it her duty to make sure Allie does too. As their friendship deepens, Allie realizes her feelings for Sam are romantic an A lovely book about young love between two middle school girls. I ordered this book for my school library because I am always on the lookout for books that explore LGBT themes in a sensitive and realistic but not too graphic manner. This book is that and more. Allie meets Sam on her first day at her new school and a friendship is instantly formed. Sam knows everyone and makes it her duty to make sure Allie does too. As their friendship deepens, Allie realizes her feelings for Sam are romantic and that they are returned. Things start to spiral out of control when Sam's mother and her church (One True Way) turn their sights on two teachers who live together in a lesbian relationship. One of the teachers is Sam's basketball coach whom she is very close to. Allie's mother, while more accepting, does not give Allie the support she craves. Sam and Allie are not allowed to remain close which leads to even more isolation for Allie. Added to this is the fact that a perfectly nice boy has a crush on Allie and invites her to Pioneer Days. She uses his attraction to try to convince herself that she can like boys. This leads to more complications for everyone involved.The book deals with the feelings and realities involved with coming to terms with our romantic feelings and the problems that teens face when confronting choices that are not accepted by everyone in society. I'm looking forward to finding out what my middle school readers think about it.
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