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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Patrick
    January 1, 1970
    Set in the 1970’s. Two middle school girls deal with their sexuality and the reactions of others.
  • 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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  • Jamie
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars - I like that this book exists so that readers can find themselves in fiction. However, the sentences are pretty simplistic for a 5-6th grade audience (which is generally when books about crushes in middle school are offered to students). The central conflict was interesting, and there were other promising complications, but the supportive characters too often seemed to know exactly the right thing to say in difficult circumstances, rather than being more complex, and the dialogue was 3.5 stars - I like that this book exists so that readers can find themselves in fiction. However, the sentences are pretty simplistic for a 5-6th grade audience (which is generally when books about crushes in middle school are offered to students). The central conflict was interesting, and there were other promising complications, but the supportive characters too often seemed to know exactly the right thing to say in difficult circumstances, rather than being more complex, and the dialogue was not as varied or compelling as it could have been (repeated use of stupendous for the smart character, repeated ribbit ribbit as a connective thread between the two leads, for example). I think this book's main value might be to help friends and family members of people who are coming out to know how to support them - some of those character responses seemed most genuine and complex.
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  • Sandy O'Brien
    January 1, 1970
    Two girls meet and are unsure how they should feel about each other. They don’t want to let down their family, friends, or society. #OneTrueWay is a book that is relevant today even though it was written in the 1970s. People still feel pressure to not be who they truly are. #LoveIsLove Out in February.
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  • Kathy Temean
    January 1, 1970
    I can truely say Shannon Hitchcock has written another great book depicting two 7th grade girls living in the “Bible Belt” during 1977 who discover they are in love. The story is filled with lovely historical details and is presented in an engaging, thoughtful, and inspirational way.
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  • Melissa Biehl
    January 1, 1970
    What an amazing story about figuring out what your truths are as a person as these two characters are navigating middle school and the close mindedness of some of the towns people. These characters are shown as real and their struggles very believable especially for this time period of the 1970's.
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  • Mary
    January 1, 1970
    This is an excellent read for middle grade readers about emerging (homo)sexuality and what it can mean in places that may not be as tolerant as others.
  • Christopher
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars
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