The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones

Featured
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
827 0
The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones
Author(s)
Publisher
Age Range
12+
Release Date
June 16, 2020
ISBN
978-1989365168
Buy 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. Enter Juniper Jones. The town’s resident oddball and free spirit, she’s everything the townspeople aren’t―open, kind, and accepting. 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 . . .

Editor reviews

1 reviews

heart-wrenching YA historical fiction
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
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.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Movies, mansions, and murder in the Golden Age of Hollywood!...
Kamala and Maya's Big Idea
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Meena Harris debuts with an empowering picture book about two...
Harvey Holds His Own (The Harvey Stories, #2)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The West Highland Terrier that brought Harvey Comes Home to...
Everything I Thought I Knew
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
A teenage girl wonders if she’s inherited more than just...
The Morning Flower (The Omte Origins, #2)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
New York Times bestselling author Amanda Hocking returns to...
The Hunt
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Death marked her from her very first breath. Being...
Swallowed by a Secret
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
One dead father. One lying mother. ...
Circus of the Dead Book One
 
5.0 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
There are many ways to die at the Circus...
Roaring
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Colt Clemmons is an agent in a specialized division...
Court of Lions
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Court of Lions is the long-awaited second and final...
More Than Just a Pretty Face
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
For fans of Becky Albertalli and Jenny Han, a...
The Adventurers Guild: Night of Dangers
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
After the events at Llethanyl, city of the elves, Zed...
And Then I Turned into a Mermaid (And Then I Turned into a Mermaid, #1)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
For fans of Emily Windsnap and Maybe A Mermaid, And...
After the Worst Thing Happens
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Left reeling after her thoughtless mistake causes a terrible accident,...
Hirana's War: Book Two in the Eloia Born Series
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Praise for Eloia Born “Loved it! A well-written narrative...
Hans Christian Andersen: The Journey of His Life
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
"If you like, I’ll tell you the story of a...

Latest Member Reviews

 
4.0
"WHAT I LOVED: We think of the glitz, glamorous mega-stars, and classic movies when we think of the Golden Age..."
The Night Country (The Hazel Wood #2)
 
4.0
"Alice Proserpine thought she was mostly back to “normal” life after breaking from her story in the Hinterland, but when..."
Everything I Thought I Knew
 
4.3
"What worked: Intriguing plot of Chloe, a seventeen-year-old super-achiever, who ends up collapsing during her senior year in high school..."
The Adventurers Guild: Night of Dangers
 
5.0
"THE ADVENTURERS GUILD: NIGHT OF DANGERS by Zack Loran Clark and Nick Eliopulos is the culmination of a Middle Grade..."
The Pros of Cons
 
4.0
"WHAT I LOVED: I genuinely can't imagine four different events happening simultaneously in the same complex, but it happens..."
BRB I'm Going to Disneyland
 
4.0
"'BRB: I'm Going to Disneyland' by Courtney Carbone is a cute, quick read. As a novel written in texts, emails,..."
He Must Like You
 
5.0
"'He Must Like You' by Danielle Younge-Ullman is an intensely provocative look at the various ways in which consent, upset,..."
How the Stars Came to Be
 
5.0
"Reviewed for YA Books Central Beautiful in every aspect. The book: This is a story about how the..."
Unscripted
 
5.0
"A book so real it can be u comfortable at times. The story: Zelda doesn’t have a..."
The Dark Tide
 
5.0
"THE DARK TIDE is an enthralling and atmospheric YA fantasy read. We follow Lina, a townsperson, and Eva, the witch..."
Where Dreams Descend
 
4.0
"What worked: Beautifully written tale where a girl performer breaks away from her cage and enters a competition of magicians..."
The Black Kids
 
5.0
"THE BLACK KIDS is a really poignant read that ties history to the present. Ashley is a senior in high..."
What Goes Up
 
3.3
"'What Goes Up' by Christine Heppermann is a quick read, as it is a novel-in-verse, a format that can be..."
They Wish They Were Us
 
4.3
"THEY WISH THEY WERE US is an engaging YA thriller reminiscent of GOSSIP GIRLS. The book follows Jill, who had..."
Roaring
 
3.0
"ROARING takes place in the 1920s- with a twist. Monsters, sirens, minotaurs, basilisks, and more, exist, and they are woven..."
More Than Just a Pretty Face
 
5.0
"MORE THAN JUST A PRETTY FACE is a fantastic YA contemporary romance that follows Danyal during his senior year of..."
You Say It First
 
3.3
"'You Say It First' is easily one of those books you will either love or hate. My feelings fell somewhere..."
Court of Lions (Mirage, #2)
 
5.0
"COURT OF LIONS finishes the MIRAGE duology with aplomb. This YA fantasy series takes us to another planet and the..."
The Unleashed: The Haunted, Book 2
 
4.0
"Creepy, suspenseful paranormal where some friends learn that a summoning might bring back something unexpected and evil. ..."
The Year of the Witching
 
5.0
"Immanuelle lives in the town of Bethel where the Prophet's word is law and the highest honor for a woman..."