Featured Review: The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones (Daven McQueen)

53805921._SY475_-1

About This Book:

It’s the summer of 1955. For Ethan Harper, a biracial kid raised mostly by his white father, race has always been a distant conversation. When he’s sent to spend the summer with his aunt and uncle in small-town Alabama, his Blackness is suddenly front and center, and no one is shy about making it known he’s not welcome there. Except for Juniper Jones. The town’s resident oddball and free spirit, she’s everything the townspeople aren’t―open, kind, and full of acceptance.

Armed with two bikes and an unlimited supply of root beer floats, Ethan and Juniper set out to find their place in a town that’s bent on rejecting them. As Ethan is confronted for the first time by what it means to be Black in America, Juniper tries to help him see the beauty in even the ugliest reality, and that even the darkest days can give rise to an invincible summer.

Daven McQueen’s Juniper Jones is a character for all ages in this sweet coming of age story set in 1950s Alabama.
 

 

 

 

*Review Contributed By Olivia Farr Staff Reviewer*

 

 

 

THE INVINCIBLE SUMMER OF JUNIPER JONES is a heart-wrenching YA historical novel that takes place primarily in 1955. Ethan is biracial, but has been primarily raised by his white father who does not seem to grasp the concept of race or racism. After he punches a boy at school for saying something horrible and is suspended from school, his father decides that his punishment will be going to Alabama for the summer to stay with his aunt and uncle in the small town of Ellison.

Ellison is gripped by outright racism and the Ku Klux Klan. The townspeople take no time at all to make sure Ethan knows that he is not welcome there, resorting to outright threats. His aunt and uncle are also wary of him and they say terrible things to keep up appearances. We view these things through Ethan's eyes, making it clear the harmful effects silence or going with the flow can have.

However, Juniper Jones, a fiery young girl Ethan's age, decides that Ethan is going to be her best friend and that together, they will have the best summer ever. He soon gets swept away in her plans and adventures, all the while dealing with the town and its racist occupants.

What I love: The book really sweeps you away in the story, and we feel Ethan's conflicts and pains throughout the book. It also shows the problems with colorblindness that lead to his father sending him to such a dangerous place and not speaking about race at home. Microaggressions as well as outright racism and hate crimes are pervasive throughout the novel, and the focus on Ethan's experience shines a light on all these issues that are still occurring today. Through his eyes, we also see the things that Ethan notices, which the white residents may ignore (as his father likely did), such as the confederate flag hanging in the center of town. The book also shows the power of having a vocal ally, and the need for those people to also speak up.

The ending surprised me, but I appreciated the surprise (even if I cried). This was a really heart-wrenching story, and books which can make you feel so deeply are always a treasure. This was a true coming-of-age story, and we can see the ways in which it would shape Ethan's life (in the last chapter when we flash forward to 2015).

What left me wanting more: As a small point, I am somewhat surprised that Ethan and his father were unaware of the racial tensions in the South before he arrived (and that Washington was so much better that racism was not much of a problem they were aware of), but this may be time accurate as knowledge was more difficult to transfer (without internet and much TV).

Final verdict: Heart-breaking and well written, THE INVINCIBLE SUMMER OF JUNIPER JONES is a YA historical fiction about racism, friendship, and the events that are indelibly printed on our souls.

 

 

 

*Find More Info & Buy This Book HERE*!

 

Spotlight on The Amelia Six (Kristin L Gray), Gues...
Spotlight on Sisters of Sword and Song (Rebecca Ro...

Related Posts

 

Comments

Already Registered? Login Here
No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

The Cousins
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of One...
A Curse of Roses
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Based on Portuguese legend, this #OwnVoices historical fantasy is an...
I Don't Want to Wash my Hands!
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
From beloved children's author and illustrator Tony Ross, comes a...
Dance Like a Leaf
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
As her grandmother's health declines, a young girl begins to...
The Bitterwine Oath
 
3.3 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
San Solano, Texas, is a quaint town known for...
Sing Like No One's Listening
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
A moving YA debut about a talented young singer...
Heiress Apparently (Daughters of the Dynasty, #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The first book in an epic and romantic YA...
The Good Girls
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
One of Us Is Lying meets Sadie in this...
Frozen 2: Dangerous Secrets: The Story of Iduna and Agnarr
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Sixteen-year-old Iduna harbors a dark secret. On the surface,...
The Camelot Betrayal
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
The second book in a new fantasy trilogy from...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Every summer, they say goodbye. Dorit goes to Tel Aviv...
Incredible Animals
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
In this illustrated guide, discover fascinating and unusual information about...
Special Delivery
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
A lovely book to share with children in an expecting...
Eyelike Stickers: Trains
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Hundreds of irresistible, reusable, and collectible stickers to mix, match,...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
It is twenty years since the events of La Belle...
Winter Light
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
WINTER LIGHT is the story of 15-year-old Mary Donahue...

Latest Member Reviews

The Cousins
 
5.0
"THE COUSINS is a highly devourable and engaging family drama/mystery. The Story family is very wealthy, running a bunch of..."
Golden Curse (The True Story of Rapunzel)
 
5.0
"This beautiful story is highly enjoyable. The writing flows easily, and the characters feel relatable. The main conflict was interesting..."
The Raven and the Dove
 
4.0
"An intriguing tale of forbidden love as two young lovers fight to stay together. Well written and entertaining. ..."
The Devil's Apprentice
 
4.5
"This was actually a pretty interesting story. At first I really wasn't sure how it was going to go so..."
A Curse of Roses
 
3.7
"A CURSE OF ROSES is an intriguing YA historical fantasy based on a Portuguese legend. The book tackles themes of..."
Speechless
 
4.7
"this story is amazing! i have a project for honors english 10, and this is a great story to chose..."
I Don't Want to Wash my Hands!
 
3.0
"I DON'T WANT TO WASH MY HANDS is a picture book about the need for frequent hand washing. The little..."
Dance Like a Leaf
 
5.0
"DANCE LIKE A LEAF is a beautiful book about grief and loss of a loved one. A young girl loves..."
The Bitterwine Oath
 
3.3
"THE BITTERWINE OATH is a YA fantasy and light horror read. Nat is the descendent of the girl who put..."
Heart Sister
 
4.8
"The story: When Emmitt’s twin sister Minnie dies in a tragic accident, it cripples not only him..."
Incredible Animals
 
5.0
"INCREDIBLE ANIMALS is a fascinating collection of animals by special skills, including clever camouflage, devoted parents (such as penguins), and..."
Special Delivery
 
4.0
"SPECIAL DELIVERY is a delightfully silly picture book. A little duck is eagerly awaiting the delivery of her baby brother...."
Eyelike Stickers: Trains
 
5.0
"EYELIKE STICKERS: TRAINS is an unbelievably cool collection of stickers. These 400 stickers include many photographs of trains, as well..."
 
4.3
"If your expecting the same type of books that you’ve been reading in this series, you’d be wrong. This whole..."
The Kinder Poison
 
5.0
"From start to finish I absolutely adored this story. The opening scene was so much fun to read while Zahru..."
Heiress Apparently (Daughters of the Dynasty, #1)
 
5.0
"HEIRESS APPARENTLY is a YA rom-com with deep themes that make it such an engaging and captivating read. Gemma is..."
The Good Girls
 
4.0
"THE GOOD GIRLS is an enthralling read. The book begins after the disappearance and seeming murder of the police chief's..."
All our Hidden Gifts
 
4.0
"Maeve finds a pack of tarot cards while cleaning out a closet at her school. What starts off as curiosity,..."
Frozen 2: Dangerous Secrets: The Story of Iduna and Agnarr
 
4.7
"DANGEROUS SECRETS: THE STORY OF IDUNA AND AGNARR is a great MG/YA fantasy romance. Based on Frozen, this book tells..."
Hot British Boyfriend
 
4.0
"When Ellie is completely humiliated by her best friend an crush, she decides the best way to escape her jeering..."