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Peas and Carrots

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  176 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
In this new YA novel by Tanita S. Davis, the Coretta Scott King Honor author of Mare’s War, a white teen named Dess is placed into foster care with a black family while her mother is incarcerated.
Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published February 9th 2016 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
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This dual narrative, told through first and third person POV, follows Hope -- a black girl from a nice, middle class family -- and Dessa -- a white girl who has been in and out of the foster care/home system for much of her life. When Dessa's taken in by Hope's family, she's a lot of things: angry, confused, resentful, and, deep down, ready to be accepted into a place where she fits. She's placed in Hope's family's home because her biological half-brother Austin was placed with them, and she ...more
Ms. Yingling
Feb 07, 2016 Ms. Yingling rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Copy sent by the author, just because I asked! Ah!

Dess's mother Trish is in jail for drugs, but is also under protection because she is going to testify and hopefully put some gang members away. Dess has been in foster care, but that's been almost as rocky as her life with her mother. When she ends up in a new placement, she is surprised that she is placed with her younger brother Austin's foster family. The Carters are an African-American family; Dess is Caucasian, and Austin is mixed. The Cart
As a foster parent (of sorts) myself, this one rang completely true. Excellent.
Brandy Painter
Originally posted here at Random Musings of a Bibliophile.

Peas and Carrots by Tanita S. Davis is a wonderful book about life, family, friendship with two very different perspectives on both.

Hope is used to the revolving door of foster kids that go through her family's home. It's often hard on her because she wants to care for and protect those kids, but then they always have to leave. Dessa's presence in her house is hard on Hope for different reasons. This is first time her parents' have taken
Jan 23, 2016 Amy rated it liked it
Two sentence summary: solid transition novel for students who are too old for Middle Grades literature and too young for Young Adult. Reminds me of a cross between Call Me Hope and One for the Murphys. Ideal reading audience: ages 12-14.

Plot summary: Odessa ("Dess") is in foster care. She was most recently placed in a group home, and, before that, she spent some time living on the streets. A social worker connects her to her younger brother, who was placed in foster care with a well-to-do family
This story is so important.

After her mother is arrested for drug-related reasons, Dess and her toddler brother, Austin, are placed into foster care. A social worker is gracious enough to welcome them into her home as she's done with many other children before. Although hesitant, Dess has no choice in the matter and is forced to follow along, anyway. The Carters are nothing but kind , but she clashes immediately with their daughter, Hope, who is around the same age.

Honestly, I loved the book.
Kelly Hager
Dess (short for Odessa) has just gotten a new foster home. She lives with her biological brother Austin (he's been there for years and is the reason she's been placed there), a sick baby named Jamaira and Hope (her foster parents' daughter). Dess and Hope immediately clash although eventually they learn they have a lot in common (including Austin).

I really like this book. Dess and Hope are richly drawn characters and I love Austin and Hope's parents.

This is the kind of book that just makes you
Bethany Miller
Jun 18, 2016 Bethany Miller rated it liked it
Shelves: royal_may_2016
With both parents in prison, Dess has bounced around from living with her grandmother, to a foster home, to a group home, and through it all she has learned to be tough and to only rely on herself. Dess, who is white, gets placed with the African American Carter family because they have been fostering her younger half-brother Austin and it’s a chance for them to be reunited. Hope Carter is the same age as Dess, and the two do not exactly hit it off. Though the Carters have a beautiful home and ...more
Jun 06, 2016 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 50poc
*possible minor spoilers*
Unlike other reviews, I'm fine with the ambiguous ending. Life in foster care doesn't end in a neat little bow. I'm glad this book doesn't either. Written by an author who grew up in Hope's shoes, Hope's side seems to ring a smidgen more true. I can't think of any other stories (or even blog sources) from a foster sibling, so I think this voice is Important.

As others have said, this book is written from two perspectives, two teenage girls, one in foster care, who moves
Aug 18, 2015 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
I was pleasantly surprised by this story of a white teenager in foster care, sent to live with an educated, well-to-do African American family. The foster family has a daughter the same age as the central character and, as expected, the two teens are off to a rocky start. Obviously the two become friends, the hardened foster child warms up the her new family, and the book ends on a hight note. However, the story between the beginning and the end is credible, interesting, and worthy of a read.
Claire Scott
Solid, if a little didactic, younger YA/older MG. Great for the 12-14yo fans of Wonder, not-too-edgy intro-to-issues books.
Kimberli Heck
Jul 03, 2016 Kimberli Heck rated it liked it
Cute story. Very tame story line that tries to add some suspense, but it got lost somewhere.
Oct 24, 2016 Wendy rated it it was ok
It must first be said that in another life I was a social worker in a residential care facility for young women. This is a group home who took the kids that had already passed through their share of foster homes. So, I went into this with an insight (or bias) most readers don't have. The few snippets Davis gives us of Dess' group home life pretty much reflects the experiences of girls who came through the facility where I was employed. With that said, I had quite a few problems with this book.

Nov 03, 2016 Susan rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
Decent YA book about a topic that is a little different than the current trending YA topics - foster care. The two teen characters, Dessa and Hope, were well-drawn. I thought they provided a realistic picture of what it was like to be both a foster child and a teen living with foster siblings. Real without being too gruesome or graphic.

The adults in the book were pretty flat, but they are not really who the book was about. Uncle Henry and Mr. Carter, especially, seemed a little too good to be t
Oct 15, 2016 Rani rated it liked it
After her mother is arrested, Dess is sent to stay with the Carters, a loving, stable foster family. She and her foster sister, Hope, struggle to get along and to deal with the changes in their lives.

There are things to appreciate about this book. It has a positive portrayal of a foster family. There’s a fair amount of racial diversity too. Dess is white, but the Carters are African-American, and the school that Hope and Dess attend is pretty diverse. And the book is about a complicated, yet mea
Rachel Neumeier
Oct 06, 2016 Rachel Neumeier rated it really liked it
I fear that for me, this title is an active turn-off. I get that it means, “As different as…” But I still think it’s a stupid-sounding title. The story is quite good, though.

This is a story where Dess, a white teenager caught up in the foster care system, goes to stay with the black family that’s been fostering her mixed-race baby brother. There’s a lot of embedded issues in a situation like that, obviously, and in less deft hands you can see how it would turn into a preachy message-fic kind of
Eliana Eiland
Dec 01, 2016 Eliana Eiland rated it it was amazing
I thought this book was really good though at first I didn't like it because of Dess's view on other races. I love the relation ship between Hope and Dess in the end. I wish Jas was still cool with Hope in the end. I also loved when Dess called Hope "Hopeless" and Hope called Dess "Dessturbed"
Nov 02, 2016 Bailey rated it really liked it
I really liked it - a good read for any teenager looking for a book to enjoy.
Oct 16, 2016 Jamie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alternating perspectives, Dess is written in first person and Hope in third--which for me brought immediacy to Dess's experiences and struggles. I wish I could be more like Mama Robin--yoga, kindness, openness, steadiness, openness, acceptance. I loved what she brought to the story, and Davis' author note at the end confirms that: too many stories and real experiences of foster life skew to the worst extremes of humanity, but this book is about the better extreme. This book falls on the side of ...more
Oct 19, 2016 Diana rated it really liked it
Read it in one sitting!
I rarely read YA, but when I do, I want it to be as good as this one! It's so realistic, the characters are relatable and likeable. I joined in the emotional roller-coaster and enjoyed it a lot. I love how it resolved in the end. Truly an awesome book :)
Julie Trapp
Oct 12, 2016 Julie Trapp rated it really liked it
Hope's family takes in foster children. Some years ago they took in Austin (Baby) & now are taking in Dess as their mom is in protective custody before the trial of Austin's dad (drugs, among other things). Dess is white and Hope is black and they do not get along. Hope's family is almost overly understanding and kind, unlike Dess's other foster families. Hope doesn't like someone her own age taking away from her parents, and Dess is on guard and not able to let them be nice to her. It takes ...more
Alyssa Schneyman
This story is told through the lens of two different girls thrown together because of foster child circumstances and shows how their family relationship changes and grows.

Odessa (Dess) moves from her group home to a "rich" foster family, the Carters, where her own little brother, Austin has been living. Dess has lived with drug addicted parents, her grandmother, and even time on the streets. All of these family and life experiences have jaded her and have forced her to put up walls around herse
I was really frustrated with the ending because I wanted more closure; however, I recognize that satisfying closure and happy-happy endings in foster care isn't necessarily what a realistic resolution looks like. I also did not like the cover as it shows two stereotypically thin teenagers whereas a recurring theme is that one of the girls is emphatically not super thin.

That said, it was a interesting look into the foster care system and engaging story of two girls--and no romance--who learn to b
Audrey Wilkerson
Told from alternating points of view, Peas and Carrots is the story of two teen girls, different in just about every way, who have to learn how to get along while in a foster care situation. Odessa "Dess" Matthews has had it rough. Living with a mother who has children she can't take care of, her mom returns time and again to an abusive relationship that is horrible for Dess and her baby brother.

Now Dess hasn't seen Baby for at least four years. Living in a group home isn't easy, but she's used
Dessa Matthews and Hope Carter, both fifteen, couldn't be more different if they tried. After all, Dess (short for Odessa) has been bounced from one foster placement to another, and has become hardened to life and expects little to go her way. Hope, on the other hand, has loving parents who support her in every way they can while also opening up their home to foster children. Because Dess's young brother Austin lives with the Carters, Dessa is placed there while things are getting sorted out in ...more
Mary Louise Sanchez
This story is told through the lens of two different girls thrown together because of foster child circumstances and shows how their family relationship changes and grows.

Odessa (Dess) moves from her group home to a "rich" foster family, the Carters, where her own little brother, Austin has been living. Dess has lived with drug addicted parents, her grandmother (who cannot raise her grandchildren any longer), and even time on the streets. All of these family and life experiences have jaded her
Dess has had a hard life. And things have gotten more complicated since her mother is incarcerated for her own protection. She is going to be a witness against Dess’s father, an abusive drug dealer who her mother has been tied to for years by her drug habit and children. Dess has endured years of abuse and neglect and has a baby brother she has tried to help care for, but ultimately they were put into the foster care system. Dess struggles with being separated from her brother and with the ...more
Pamela Teare
Sep 15, 2016 Pamela Teare rated it really liked it
This book would be excellent for teens, especially those who face adversities due to family members or themselves using drugs/alcohol/incarceration or ending up in 'the system'. I really appreciated this book & its honesty at what kids/babies/teens have to deal with just to survive!
Sep 12, 2016 Jasmine rated it it was amazing
I didn't realize this was the same author who wrote Al a carte @_@... I really liked this though. I think I might try to find more of her books. Note to self I should be more aware of the authors of the books I read.
April Duclos
May 20, 2016 April Duclos rated it really liked it
This is good but doesn't delve too deeply. If you're seeking a quick and enjoyable read about a pair of foster sisters (one white and one black) who navigate their way from prickly dislike to tempered respect then this will be a fun one. The banter is good and the development of the girls' relationship is (aside from a strange hiccup or two which didn't make sense) fun to read and realistic.

15 year old Odessa (Dess) Matthews has grown up with some uncertain circumstances: drug addict mother, vio
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