Book Reviews,  Coming of Age,  Middle Grade,  Poetry,  Realist Fiction

Book Review: The Places We Sleep

The Places We SleepThe Places We Sleep by Caroline Brooks DuBois
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Imagine being twelve years old, a battle-weary Army brat trying to adjust to yet another new school in Tennessee, just about to get your first period… and it’s September 11, 2001. Abbey isn’t imagining all this, she’s living it.

Written entirely as a free-flowing narrative, the larger story is no surprise. The events of 9/11 are burned into our collective memory. What’s new is witnessing Abbey internalizing and trying to understand the constant flood of big and small changes in her life, everything from family loss to school bullying, and a lot more in between.

Twelve is a confusing age for any girl, even when things are going well. And when they aren’t? Peer into Abbey’s mind, and see if it looks a bit familiar to you. The narrative verse writing style gives us the feeling that we are plucking strands of thought from Abbey’s mind—sometimes one strand, often two or three tangled together as they come to light. The effect feels real. This is how brains work. This is how our thoughts sort themselves out. Perhaps after working your way through the jumble of Abbey’s mind, you’ll look inwardly at your own with a fresh perspective.

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Lori Alden Holuta lives between the cornfields of Mid-Michigan, where she grows vegetables and herbs when she’s not writing, editing, or playing games with a cat named Chives.

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