Hush by Jacqueline Woodson

2015-07-20 21.36.25

Title: Hush
Author: Jacqueline Woodson
Genre: Young adult fiction
How I got the book: I bought it

Summary (from Amazon):

Evie Thomas is not who she used to be. Once she had a best friend, a happy home and a loving grandmother living nearby. Once her name was Toswiah.

Now, everything is different. Her family has been forced to move to a new place and change their identities. But that’s not all that has changed. Her once lively father has become depressed and quiet. Her mother leaves teaching behind and clings to a new-found religion. Her only sister is making secret plans to leave.

And Evie, struggling to find her way in a new city where kids aren’t friendly and the terrain is as unfamiliar as her name, wonders who she is.

My Review (may contain spoilers!):

I read this book in eighth grade and loved it. When I came across it at the bookstore, I felt I had to buy it. This was the first time I’ve read it since then.

There’s a much deeper meaning to this book that 13-year-old me didn’t catch the first time I read the book.

A young girl and her family got into Witness Protection after her father, a police officer, witnesses a murder.

The book follows Toswiah–now Evie–as she and her family struggle with their new life and new identities. It strains her relationship with her sister, her parents’ marriage becomes rocky, and no one is happy. Everyone is confused.

It’s great to watch all the characters go through the change in their own way. Anna, Evie’s older sister, desperately finds a way out through college. Their mother finds strength through religion as a Jehovah Witness. Their father struggles with it the most as he sits by the window thinking of his choices and the dreadful day he witnessed a 15-year-old boy get murdered by two cops; those cops being close friends to him and his family.

The novel is all about identity. Be yourself. Be true to who you are, but in the end we’re all human.

Which is where the underlying theme comes in: racism.

Evie and her family are black. The young boy that was killed was black. The two cops that killed him were both white.

As Evie’s father tries to defend the deceased boy, everything comes out as black versus white and Evie’s father didn’t want it that way.

The book is a quick read at under 200 pages. It follows amazing characters and conveys a wonderful message. I would recommend this book to anyone.

Hush by Jacqueline Woodson gets 5 out of 5 stars.

Favorite Quote:

“Blood’s the same color no matter who it’s flowing through.” –Jacqueline Woodson, Hush

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If you have any book recommendations for me, I’d love to hear them. Feel free to get in touch on my Contact Me page!

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Via Goodreads
Via Goodreads

Summary (from Goodreads):

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.

Written in beautiful prose, Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming is a memoir. Woodson describes her life from the moment she was born and beyond in free verse.

We get a closer look at her life, the ups and downs, the special moments and the not so special moments. We follow her as she moves from one place to another, the relationship between her and her family is uncanny.

Woodson was very observant as a young girl and learned a lot from her family and the world around her. She makes a big point to mention that she’s black, as is basically stated in the title, and how she lived in the era where black people were fighting for their own rights.

There is so much love and hate in this story and so much history behind it all. We’re not just learning about Woodson’s childhood, but we’re also learning a little bit about the world in 1963.

I would highly recommend reading this novel to anyone. It’s quick, beautifully written, and teaches us a lot. I even had a hard time picking a favorite quote for this one and ended up going with one of the Haikus in the story.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson gets 5 out of 5 stars.

Favorite Quote:

“Even the silence
has a story to tell you.
Just listen. Listen.”
–Jacqueline Woodson, Brown Girl Dreaming

Be sure to check out my Goodreads page to see what I’ll be reading next!