The House You Pass on the Way
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The House You Pass on the Way

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  594 ratings  ·  57 reviews
Staggerlee is used to being alone. As the granddaughter of celebrities and the daughter of an interracial couple in an all-black town, she has become adept at isolating herself from curious neighbors. But then her cousin, Trout, comes to visit. Trout is exactly like Staggerlee wishes she could be: outspoken, sure of herself, beautiful. Finally, Staggerlee has a friend, som...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published October 27th 2003 by Speak (first published September 8th 1997)
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Jul 11, 2010 Amanda added it
Snapshot: Set in the rural South, this book is the story of Staggerlee, a 14-year-old girl who is searching for her own identity while also attempting to understand her complicated family legacy. Staggerlee is caught between worlds in terms of race--her mother is white and her father is black in a mostly black community--and in terms of sexual orientation--Staggerlee is trying to come to terms with being gay. A visit from a cousin who seems to understand her enables Staggerlee her own awakening....more
What happens when you have a secret, deep inside yourself, and absolutely no one to share it with? What if your life is complicated enough, living in the south, with famous grandparents who even have a monument built to them in the center of your small town, your father is a true community figure, and your mother, who is white, has no friends?

For Staggerlee (born Evangeline), there are competing examples of how to socially fit in. Her tall, handsome black father is at ease in his hometown. Her m...more
Jun 23, 2010 Ab rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: ya-ness
A quick read, but quite interesting. The racial issues along with the questioning of sexuality as 14-year-olds makes for a fairly intelligent story. I'm glad I read it!

p.5 "Again & again she had searched through the photo albums. Again & again she saw the pictures of Evangeline Ian -- pretty, smiling baby. As she grew older, that smiling baby girl became her own tiny burden. She was the good child -- the happy one. The one that never needed, never asked for anything, never caused any tro...more
Amanda Childs

Contains homosexual themes.

The daughter of mixed-race parents in an all-black southern town, Staggerlee has learned to avoid curious or deriding neighbors by keeping quietly to herself. She spends most of her time walking her dog by the river, alone. Though she longs for a friend, she feels alienated at school because her once-close friend Hazel has tuned the other girls against her. Secretly, Trout knows she and Hazel shared more than friendship, having had an experien...more
I'm always amazed by how quickly I get sucked in to Jacqueline Woodson's books. The House You Pass on the Way is barley over 100 pages, and yet it is full of growth, a well-rounded cast of characters, and so much emotion. It even covers enough time to be both a little bluesy and a little hopeful at the same time. It's the perfect book for a rainy afternoon.

Staggerlee is kind of a loner, and, for the most part, she likes it that way. It gives her space to think and to play her music. In a town th...more
The House You Pass on the Way, by Jacqueline Woodson is a riveting book that examines the relationship between two friends and how the confusion of the coming of age affected their friendship. There are so many factors I had never considered that could complicate such a close relationship. First of all, the main character Staggerlee confused her extremely close friendship with her best friend Hazel, for love. She questioned her sexuality as well as her personal worth. Her mother had dark skin, w...more
4.5 stars!

beautifully written, poignant and sweet.
a wonderful novel on self-discovery. this
was my first read by woodson and i look forward
to many more.
"And freedom? Oh, freedom.
Well that's just some people talking.
Your prison is walking through this world all alone."

—The House You Pass on the Way

"What did it sound like...having someone call your name across a crowded school yard? How did it feel to turn to the sound of your name, to see some smiling face or waving hand and know it was for you and you alone?"

—Staggerlee, "The House You Pass on the Way", P. 43

From before I even read page one of this book, I was drawn into it by the power...more
Themes: sexual identity, homosexuality, self-discovery

Fourteen-year-old Staggerlee Canan has been a loner, an outsider, for as long as she can remember. She doesn’t have close friends at school, she doesn’t demand a lot of attention in her family, and because of her natural introversion, she has a reputation for being stuck-up and aloof among the other kids her age. Her father, the son of the now-dead, black heroes of the town, have not been in good standing with Staggerlee’s aunts, living a few...more
Jenni Frencham
Staggerlee doesn't have much going for her. She has a completely unusual name, first of all. Second, she is a child of mixed race in a time and place where this is not acceptable. Third, she has a crush on her best friend, who also happens to be female. When her friend moves away, Staggerlee isn't sure what to do with herself, until her cousin Trout moves in. Staggerlee and Trout become fast friends and soon confess to each other that they both like girls, but both have realized that they cannot...more
This is one of the books that I tucked under the pillow and read over one sitting when I couldn't sleep, when the sun was above the horizon and the soft glowing light from the sky would shine over the last pages, making me feel like a 14 year girl playing harmonica in large field of cornflowers.

Staggerlee is a 14 year old daughter of interracial couple who sees herself as a loner yet she likes it that way as she spends most of her time playing harmonica and remembering the time when she kissed...more
This book is for mature readers, as the story explores sexuality and gender identification, racism, and family issues. The book centers on Staggerlee, a girl coming of age, with feelings for other girls. The book explores some of her internal struggles as she keeps her attraction to other girls a secret. I believe that this book would appeal more strongly to female readers, as the main character offers a female perspective on what is happening in her life. Boys could also enjoy the story and rel...more
 Imani ♥ ☮
Wow, this book was very...interesting to say the least. I notice that in almost all of Woodson's books it deals with this subject matter: gay people. Not that I have anything against this or anything it just proved my hypothesis that a lot of Woodson's books deal with that subject matter. Well, anyhoo, this book was kind of strange to me and if I hadn't finished it in the time I did and it wasn't as short as it was, I'm not so sure this book would have gotten 4 stars or even 3. The reason for th...more
The House you Pass Along the Way: Jacqueline Woodson
Date Finished: August 2009

Snapshot: Staggerlee is a 13-year-old girl, half black and half white. She is from a family of legends and her family is criticized by the community for being stuck up. She doesn’t have many friends, and is excited when she discovers that her adopted cousin Trout will be staying with them for the summer. Staggerlee feels a deep bond with Trout, and is confused about what this means. After Trout leaves in the fall, thei...more
Patrice Sartor
GENRE: Fiction, realistic fiction, homosexual issues.

SUMMARY: Fourteen-year-old Staggerlee has experienced difficulty fitting in at school; her classmates hold it against her that her father is black and her mother is white, and they feel that Staggerlee is a snob. Amidst this, Staggerlee is struggling to come to terms with the kiss she shared with Hazel, who was her one and only friend until Staggerlee's classmates turned Hazel against her. Life improves after Staggerlee's cousin Trout comes to...more
Thank goodness for Jacqueline Woodson.

In The House You Pass on the Way she has written a lovingly understated story of identity and family. As a young teenager, Staggerlee is seeking answers and understanding and relationship -- trying to figure out who she is and her place in the world -- big questions for anyone. As the biracial daughter of a Black father and a white mother living in a nearly all-Black, Southern small town, she has spent her entire life living the legacy of racism and its con...more
May 12, 2008 Evan rated it 2 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Folks who are into reading almost anything queer
I wanted to like this book more than I did. If I had read this book at 10 it would have made me feel less alone but scared I think. If I had read this at 16 I would've hated it. Now, at almost 30, I think it was really thin. 99 pages. Everyone is sketched so thinly. It's hard to really care about anyone. I'm glad I read it though. It's one of the few books that deal with a maybe lesbian black (& biracial) teenager. I just wish it was a little deeper. And it's kind of a lonely book. It's lone...more
Despite the slim nature of this book, it carries a surprising amount of weight. Staggerlee is an interesting character-the grandchild of famous grandparents, unable to take advantage of the freedom from oppression that they fought for. She struggles to understand what it means to be bi-racial in a mostly black community, where the other kids assume she thinks she is better than they are. The fact that she has a secret about her feelings towards other girls contributes to her isolation. When Trou...more
Xiao Wen
At the beginning of this book, one thing had surprised me so much, which is Staggerlee's family did not contact her father's family for 20 years. How is this possible for family members not to communicate for 20 years? However, the reason of not contacting is common, it is because of discrimination. Staggerlee's father is from a black family, but her mother is white, this is why there is not communication in a family for 20 years. Another thing that I like in this book is when Trout said she afr...more
Wan Yu( Stephanie)
Staggerlee is a shy, quiet and self-conscious girl, she doesn't like to talk and doesn't care about her neigbors. She is isolating herself from the outside world, and she tries to find who she is. Trout, her cousin came visit which helps Staggerlee to be who she wants to be. Staggerlee had no one to talk to, and to share secrets with, Trout is the one. The one she needs and the one she wants to be.
Everyone is shy in someway, we can be emotionally, mentally or physically. Staggerlee is the type o...more
Jessica V
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Leslie Vasquez
This book was a short yet deep story. It takes you through the life in the eyes of a biracial, uncertain, teenage girl, Staggerlee. Staggerlee is growing up in a town that is dominantly black. She has a white mother and a black father. She is on the journey of life of course, but she on the other had tends to isolate, and finds some comfort with her adopted cousin. They both share their feelings with each other and begin to understand who they are. Staggerlee and her cousin Trout talk about havi...more
The main character in this novel is Staggerlee who has isolated herself from her surroundings. When her cousin, Trout comes to visit Staggerlee we see the quintessential example of what Staggerlee wishes she could be; confident, beautiful and sure of herself. We watch as their relationship grows closer and closer together but as the novel moves forward it becomes obvious that Trout isn't everything that Staggerlee had hoped her to be.

I felt medium about this novel. I really enjoyed the characte...more
Sarah Tilatitsky
This book tackles touchy issues that are so hard to talk about without offending anyone. This book tackles the issues so beautifully and wonderly that I'm amazed. The tackle on color deeply goes into me, if the comment is'nt said as a "good" joke (not the hurtful ones). The rights of gay issues are little comented on, but is said in the book, and on how that makes a person feel self-consious. In this book, Staggerlee is deciding who she is, and what she is, when Trout comes along and changes Sta...more
Jun 01, 2008 Debbie rated it 2 of 5 stars Recommends it for: middle school girls
Staggerlee lives in a small, African-American community in the South. She struggles with her biracial identity (her mother is white) and also wonders if she might be gay, even though she has no words to talk about it. She is lonely and feels like she just doesn't fit anywhere.

When her cousin, Trout, visits during the summer when both girls are 14, they become very close, united in their struggles to define their identities.

Woodson touches on some poignant issues and I had high hopes for this st...more
I kept waiting for more...
Jamie L
This book is a very good book. It almost made me cry at some parts. It has a very good point how you need someone to care for you and to love you. Without there parents they are very sad. It makes you relize how lucky you are to have yoour parents. This book shows how the kids work together to acomplish things because they have no parents. I feel bad for all of the kids. It makes you sad. The kids are brave and i would be proud of them for coming together and staying strong even thought a teriab...more
A deceptively simple and short novel, this tells the story of Staggerlee, a quiet girl who often feels cut off and alienated from her community. She is mixed raced in a mostly black town, she is the granddaughter of famous civil rights martyrs, and now... well, she thinks she might have a secret that will widen the gap. But when her cousin Trout comes to stay, Staggerlee finds a kindred spirit. This is a subtle novel, and one that bears thinking about long after you've finished it.
Liz Ballif
Maybe I totally missed the boat here, but I didn't enjoy this novel. I didn't like the characters, and something rubbed me the wrong way about the narration style. Also, I was confused about the main conflict--were Staggerlee's problems caused because she had a white mother and a black father or because she liked girls instead of boys. While I am supportive of the idea of books being written about issues that teenagers deal with, I just didn't like this particular book.
Sean Gresham
This book is listed in our textbook and is great for teaching social and political issues as well as bullying. Staggerlee is an interesting character who encounters racial prejudice through her father marrying a white woman and she decides she is attracted to a girl. These could be topics best not addressed in lower elementary, but upper elemenatry may want to discuss these controversial topics to prepare students going forward in their life.
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I used to say I’d be a teacher or a lawyer or a hairdresser when I grew up but even as I said these things, I knew what made me happiest was writing.

I wrote on everything and everywhere. I remember my uncle catching me writing my name in graffiti on the side of a building. (It was not pretty for me when my mother found out.) I wrote on paper bags and my shoes and denim binders. I chalked stories a...more
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“If I loved someone enough, I would go anywhere in the world with them."

“And freedom? Oh, freedom.
Well that's just some people talking.
Your prison is walking through this world all alone.”
More quotes…