Review Detail

Kids Fiction 821
Pitch Perfect Middle Grade LGBTQ+ Title
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
In 1977, Allie and her mother move from New Jersey to the South. Grieving over the death of her brother in a car accident and the separation and pending divorce of her parents, Allie is relieved when a popular girl, Sam, talks to her on her first day at Daniel Boone Middle School. Allie has a great interest in journalism, and through Sam's connections is given a chance to write for the school newspaper by Webb, the editor. She starts by writing an article about Sam, interviewing her basketball coach and going to her house to meet her family. Settling into their new community, Allie's librarian mother makes the acquaintance of a local female minister as well as Sam's coach... and her roommate. Allie feels that something is different about this relationship, but Sam won't tell her anything when she asks. As Allie continues to write articles, she spends more time with Webb, who has a crush on her. Oddly, Allie feels much happier when she is around Sam, and starts to realize that she has a crush on her friend. Knowing the problems that the coach is starting to face when her sexuality is under scrutiny, Allie is uncomfortable with this, but confides in the minister and her mother about her concerns. Sam is even more concerned, because her parents are very religious, and when she talked to her pastor, she was told that how she felt was a sin. While both girls struggle with their relationships and families, they are helped by concerned adults in their lives so that they can navigate through the social mores prevalent during this time period.
Good Points
While more recent books are mainly concerned with incorporating LGTBQ+ characters in stories that are not necessarily focused on coming out, I realized that even though I've tried very hard to build a diverse collection, my library actually didn't have any coming out titles about lesbians other than Dee's Star-Crossed, although I may purchase Jan Petro-Roy's P.S. I Miss You (3/6/18). Nancy Garden's excellent Annie on My Mind (1982), is dated now, and Young Adult novels don't speak to the middle school experience. While this is not an #ownvoices book, Hitchcock had several sensitivity readers, and the variety of responses to the topics in the book from various characters seem realistic.

The thing that I liked best about the book was that it introduced sensitive issues without putting too many value judgements on them. The was especially evident with Sam's parents involvement in the church. While this attitude is shown as being hard on Sam, there is no outright condemnation of the church, and there is another minister who is portrayed sympathetically. The parents are amicable in their divorce, keeping Allie's well being first in their thoughts. The best bit of information Sam is given is that she needs to stay safe, which was critically important in 1977 when teachers could lose their jobs if the slightest inkling of homosexuality was revealed, but is still good advice to students today. Sam has an ally in her sister, but clearly would not be safe if she continued to bring the topic of her sexuality up with her parents.

The late 1970s were very different from the earlier part of the decade, and Hitchcock manages to accurately portray the social Zeitgeist while throwing in details like a boy wearing a silky shirt with sleeves rolled up and a comb in his back pocket with the handle sticking out. Yes! And I know, because, like Allie and Sam, I was a seventh grader in 1977!

One True Way is a great addition to diverse middle school collections. Add it to Barakiva's One Many Guy, Federle's Better Nate Than Ever, Sayre's Husky, Wittlinger's Saturdays with Hitchock, Gino's George, Hennessey's The Other Boy, Polonsky's Gracefully Grayson, and other books that show different experiences with sexual orientation and gender identity in a way that will make middle school readers more understanding of the challenges faced by the people in the world around them.

My only criticism-- the characters should have been named Lisa and Jenny. Or Pat. Or even Terry, if we wanted a more gender neutral name. I did know a few Allisons, but never knew any Samanthas. My own name was #5 in popularity for my age cohort!
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

The Glass Queen (The Forest of Good and Evil, #2)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Once Upon a Time meets Game of Thrones in book...
Meanwhile
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Celebrate 10 years of this completely original graphic novel take...
Grant Beagan: The Finder's Code
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
He’s just an ordinary teenager who likes astronomy, video games,...
Fisher- Price Fun in the Jungle: Explore, Touch, and Feel
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Children will love exploring the different textures in this playful...
Glitter Globes: The Night Before Christmas
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
On the night before Christmas, all over the house, not...
Belinda Fellgate: HellCat
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
A contemporary teen fantasy about an inept 14-year-old girl who...
Breathless
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
From Jennifer Niven, the #1 New York Times bestselling author...
Music for Tigers
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Shipped halfway around the world to spend the summer...
Skyhunter (Skyhunter, #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A broken world. An overwhelming evil. ...
Kingdom of Ice and Bone (The Frozen Sun Saga, #2)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Lira and Reyker have lost everything. Including each other....
Sword of the Seven Sins
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Eva Marteinn never wanted to be a killer. Raised...
Things That Should Stay Buried
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Some destinies are written in the stars. Others must...
How It All Blew Up
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda goes to Italy...
Horrid
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
From the author of You Must Not Miss comes...
Tsalix Silverthorn and the Scepter of Destiny
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The latest phenomenal work from New York Times Bestselling author...
The Adventures of Bubba Jones (#4): Time Traveling Through Grand Canyon National Park
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
In the fourth book of this award-winning national park series,...

Latest Member Reviews

Goldilocks For Dinner
 
5.0
"What I loved: The illustrations in this book are unique and eye catching, engaging the children from the outset. The..."
All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah
 
4.0
"It's Hanukkah on New York's Lower East Side in 1912. Young Gertie, who is four, is very excited about all..."
Fatal Throne: The Wives of Henry VIII Tell All
 
4.7
"“Fatal Throne” chronicles the six wives of England’s King Henry VIII. Each queen had a part narrating in first person..."
Fatal Throne: The Wives of Henry VIII Tell All
 
4.7
"This is a collection of short stories told from the point of view of the wives of King Henry VIII...."
This is My Dollhouse
 
4.5
"A young girl has a lot of fun constructing a dollhouse out of cardboard, and cobbling together the family and..."
You Never Heard of Casey Stengel?!
 
N/A
"In this lengthy picture book, the life and times of the inimitable Stengel is given complete coverage. From his less..."
Rosie Goes to Preschool
 
5.0
"Our family are big fans of Karen Katz so I jumped at the chance to review her latest book. It..."
Rufus the Writer
 
4.0
"Rufus doesn’t want to have a typical lemonade stand. Instead, he’s decided to make a story stand, giving out stories..."
Deep in the Sahara
 
5.0
"I truly enjoyed this book, not just because of the lovely illustrations, depicting the colorful and mysterious ways women in..."
Dream Dog
 
5.0
"DREAM DOG is the story of a little boy named Harry who desperately wants a dog. Harry cannot have a..."
Sparky!
 
4.5
""Sparky is a sloth. A pet sloth. And sloths don't know how to fetch. Or roll over. But they sure..."
The Girl Who Wouldn't Brush Her Hair
 
4.5
"This warm, captivating tale will capture the hearts of young readers. My preschooler was fully engaged in the story, though..."
Alvin Ho: Allergic to Babies, Burglars, and Other Bumps in the Night
 
5.0
"I was first introduced to Alvin Ho when it was a nominated Cybils book. I totally loved him! So..."
Bluebird
 
4.5
"There are so many lessons to be learned in the pages of Bluebird from bullying, loneliness, dealing with loss and..."
The Mighty Lalouche
 
5.0
"The story of a postman-turned-boxer in turn of the century Paris is brought beautifully to life with gorgeous illustrations that..."
Want to Be in a Band?
 
3.5
"I have been surprised by how much my little girls love this book! Written in a form directly addressing the..."
The Longest Night: A Passover Story
 
5.0
"Ever since I first learned of the story of the Passover (much later than most--at age 19!) I have been..."
Duck & Goose: Goose Needs a Hug
 
5.0
"We actually own a few other 'Duck & Goose' books in my home, so this book was welcomed with great..."
Lemonade in Winter
 
4.0
"This book is so adorable. Siblings Pauline and John-John decide to have a lemonade stand during a snow blizzard...."
Annie and Helen
 
4.7
"Within a few minutes of starting this book, I was in tears. Remembering the inspiring story of Helen Keller I..."