January 20th, 2022
Kendall, Christine. The True Definition of Neva Beane.(2020). Scholastic Inc.
Summary: Neva Beane is a vibrant young tween who rides an emotional roller coaster trying to find herself. As a West Philly native, she spends time with her best friend, admires her brother’s girlfriend and has several unexpected embarrassing moments. Neva is under the watchful eye of her grandparents for the summer who are more concerned about her whereabouts than anything else. In addition, to the scrutiny Neva’s parents spend countless hours away trying to pursue their stagnant career as musicians. Neva copes with her challenges by recording her thoughts in a notebook. She starts each entry with a “word” that describes her main thoughts or feelings. This becomes her own personal dictionary. Although, she wants to just be left alone to do as she is pleased, Neva finds interest in attending a “march” to support the greater good of her community. In the meantime, she also needs to repair her relationship with her best friend and adhere to the rules of her parents even in the distance. How will she juggle it all and have a fun summer too?
Strengths: This book is an easy read that presents issues for tweens of all cultures. Neva experiences several things that are relatable and age appropriate. The title is suitable for the storyline and the terms used in Neva’s “dictionary” are thought provoking as you read each chapter.
Weaknesses: There are no weaknesses, however you do wonder about the relationship with the parents. Although, it is not uncommon for children to be raised by their extended family both Neva and Clay seemingly needed their parents throughout the story. The physical presence of the parents would have added a different twist to the storyline.
Thoughts: I already recommended this book to a selected fourth grade class. They were eager to jot down the title when I placed emphasis on tween issues. They were also thrilled that the story takes place during the summer as we enter the season in real life.
11/2/2022 06:14:39 am
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