[D]erivative, if well-intentioned.... Starla’s fiery independence makes her a likeable narrator, which compensates somewhat for the underdeveloped adult characters and unbelievable plot points. While Starla’s story lacks the elegance of The Secret Life of Bees or the emotional intensity of The Dry Grass of August, fans of simple feel-good coming-of-age tales set in the 1960s...will enjoy the ride.
When Starla runs away, worried that she will be punished for an infraction, she's offered a ride by a black woman who's herself on the run. The result: Starla comes to understand what segregation looks like in the Deep South, circa 1963. From a RITA Award winner
It’s not easy to keep such a young narrator convincing for more than 300 pages... Readers will take to Starla and be caught up in her story.
Crandall delivers big with a coming-of-age story set in Mississippi in 1963 and narrated by a precocious 9-year-old. Due in part to tradition, intimidation and Jim Crow laws, segregation is very much ingrained into the Southern lifestyle in 1963.... Assisted by a black schoolteacher who shows Eula and Starla unconditional acceptance and kindness, both ultimately learn that love and kinship transcend blood ties and skin color. Young Starla is an endearing character whose spirited observations propel this nicely crafted story.
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