Out of Place
Jennifer Blecher’s debut novel is a voice-driven story about bullying, friendship, and self-reliance that hits the sweet spot for fans of Ali Benjamin’s The Thing About Jellyfish and Erin Entrada Kelly’s You Go First.
Twelve-year-old Cove Bernstein’s year has gone from bad to worse. First, her best friend, Nina, moved from Martha’s Vineyard to New York City. Then, without Nina around, Cove became the target of a bullying campaign at school. Escape seems impossible.
But opportunities can appear when you least expect them. Cove’s visit to a secondhand clothing store leads her to a surprising chance to visit Nina, but only if she can win a coveted place in a kids-only design competition. Cove doesn’t know how to sew, but her friend at the retirement home, Anna, has promised to teach her. And things start really looking up when a new kid at school, Jack, begins appearing everywhere Cove goes.
Then Cove makes a big mistake. One that could ruin every good thing that has happened to her this year. One that she doesn’t know how to undo.
Jennifer Blecher’s accessible and beautifully written debut novel explores actions and consequences, loneliness, bullying, and finding your voice. This voice-driven friendship story is for fans of Rebecca Stead’s Goodbye Stranger and Jodi Kendall’s The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City.
However, now Nina, her BFF, is moving to New York City with her dads, one of whom has made it big in art with paintings of Nina. Cove would give anything to visit Nina in NYC, and soon, she thinks she has found her solution. She will enter the fashion design show for teenagers called Create You, which films in NYC and pays for travel, stay, and all related expenses for their contestants. However, first, she must learn how to sew.
As Cove strives to meet her goal, she makes unexpected friends and allies along the way. At the same time, things at school are heating up with the popular girls wearing mean shirts and continuing to bully others.
What I loved: The writing here is simply beautiful and impossible to put down. Cove and the other main characters just felt so real, and her experiences were unbelievably genuine. The representation of bullying and loneliness is incredible, and I highly recommend this read. With an added message about honesty and trouble/consequences, this is an unforgettable story that conveys some really important messages. For anyone who has ever felt alone or anyone who has felt like an outsider, this book will speak to your soul.
Final verdict: Absolutely gorgeous and beautifully composed, this middle grade book is a must-read. I highly recommend for anyone who has ever felt lonely, lost, or picked on- Cove’s story is sure to speak to you. Character-driven and touching, this book is undeniably incredible.