The third book in my Cybils Award posts (winner! & book 2) Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kelly is about a girl named Apple who wants to fit in. She’s of Filipino descent and moved to Louisiana with her mom when she was little. Immigrant stories are a common thing now and sometimes it’s done well and sometimes its not as easy to relate for those who don’t have that experience. I think this book does a good job with it because it also adds in other stories that are easy for middle grade readers to relate to. For example, feeling left out, liking boys, making friends, etc.
I like that things that Apple wants herself are shown in other characters to be just as debilitating and not a cure all. i.e. she wanted a new costume to make her fit in but Heleena (an outcast) had a brand new costume and still didn’t fit in. Sometimes I feel like she throws things in that she doesn’t revisit just to add diversity or conflict, “I wondered what it was like to have a complete family.” Although she talks about her dad it’s mainly about music and her need for a guitar and not because she feels a hole in her family.
Anyway, I enjoyed this book but it’s about middle way down on my list. Good, but not memorable.