Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “P.S. Be Eleven (Gaither Sisters, #2)” as Want to Read:
P.S. Be Eleven (Gaither Sisters, #2)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

P.S. Be Eleven

(Gaither Sisters #2)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  6,484 ratings  ·  750 reviews
In this exquisite sequel to the New York Times bestseller One Crazy Summer, the Gaither sisters return to Brooklyn and find that changes large and small have come to their home.

After spending the summer in Oakland with their mother and the Black Panthers, Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern arrive home with a newfound streak of independence, and the sisters aren't the only ones wh
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published May 21st 2013 by Quill Tree Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about P.S. Be Eleven, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Marlene In the first book, we learn about Cecile’s childhood and how she lost her mom when she was eleven, therefore life became difficult after that. Cecile …moreIn the first book, we learn about Cecile’s childhood and how she lost her mom when she was eleven, therefore life became difficult after that. Cecile offers some advise to Delphine, to be more selfish, to not be hardheaded and to enjoy life. “Be eleven.” Don’t rush growing up. (less)
Jaylen Wright Jaylen: if you look at it, combine the elements of One Crazy Summer and now then sequence P.s Be Eleven and One Crazy Summer and you will find your St…moreJaylen: if you look at it, combine the elements of One Crazy Summer and now then sequence P.s Be Eleven and One Crazy Summer and you will find your Story Element

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,484 ratings  ·  750 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of P.S. Be Eleven (Gaither Sisters, #2)
Jul 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tweener-lit
It's entirely possible that I love this continuation of the Gaither sisters' small saga even more than the first award winning smash of a novel, but that could just be proximity talking. Since I just finished this lovely sequel and am still hearing the Jackson Five in my head, smelling Big Ma's cooking, and seeing Mr. Miwila's sixth grade classroom, my deep love of Rita Williams-Garcia's lyrical, heartfelt writing is still fresh. But I can already tell that this is a book that will stick with me ...more
4.5 stars. The wonderful Gaither sisters are back! Delphine, Vonetta and Fern return home to Brooklyn. After their summer with Cecile, their mother, and the Black Panthers, the girls are different, and are more willing to speak up. Their grandmother is not too pleased, and continues to badmouth Cecile.
It's a new school year, and there are changes happening in their family. Their father introduces the girls to a woman and seems pretty serious about her. The girls discover the Jackson Five, and ar
Apr 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Truth be told, I didn't understand the Rita Williams-Garcia hype before reading P.S. Be Eleven. I'd read a couple of her books, notably 2011 Newbery Honoree One Crazy Summer, but wasn't convinced she belonged in the discussion with the top children's authors of her day. Her writing was never dull, chapter after chapter of engaging prose that hit the ear with the faint ring of poetry, but I wasn't sure it meshed as a cohesive piece of art with a worthwhile central message. After P.S. Be Eleven, I ...more
Monica Edinger
Nov 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reviewed on blog and below.

A huge fan of Rita Willliams-Garcia's One Crazy Summer, I was incredibly happy when it got a great deal of award-love and recognition. I mean, who could not be taken with those three sisters going off to spend the summer in California with the Black Panther mother they never knew? And who could not want to know what happened to them when they went home to Brooklyn?

Happily, we find out in the sequel,   P.S. Be Eleven . Taking off immediately after the girls return fr
I see a number of four star reviews for this one, and I only just finished it, so haven't sat with it yet... but this was a five star book for me. I think it was stronger than one crazy summer in voice, depth of the characters, and sense of place. I loved the pacing, the quiet tone, and the utter believability of the kids' actions and voices. super impressed: this is by far my favorite of her books so far. ...more
Livia Blackburne
I really enjoyed the first book, and loved this one as well. Rita Williams-Garcia is so good at illuminating nuanced relationships and sketching out characters with different points of views and personalities. And when she puts them together,
I'm in love with the Gaither Siter really. I'm in love with their relationship, their personalities. Delphine, Vonetta and Fern, they stand out as a trio as well as individual. They felt so real that for a moment I thought I was one of them. I would have love to be.
They made me cry; even though I'm the easy cryer when it comes to adult fiction I do not cry when I read children/middle grade books. I can get teary yes; but I do not cry. This one:
I laughted, oh boy! So much laughter in suc
Jan 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Bedtime read-aloud. I can't say enough about these Gaither girls books. Such great characters, and such a clear sense of time and place. They remind me in many ways of the Ramona books, which were the emotional touchstones of my childhood. Delphine and her sisters feel real. They talk like real kids, and they feel real feelings, and real things happen to them, and Rita Williams-Garcia -- like Beverly Cleary -- trusts kid readers to get it. Like...with the Jackson 5 concert ticket storyline... sh ...more
Dee Dee G
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Pa and Big Ma irked my nerves but I liked this book a lot lol.
Barb Middleton
Aug 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
As a kid, my brother would drop the needle on our Monkees' album and we would shout-sing, "Hey, Hey we're the monkees! We keep on monkeying around..." (not sure of the lyrics anymore since it was decades ago). I do remember my brother pretend throwing a football and me doing cartwheels (our version of dancing) before mom eventually hollered, " Uff-da! Turn that down! The house is shaking!" We were the "Heckle an Jeckle" in our family of seven just like Vonetta and Fern are in this story. I found ...more
Elizabeth Meadows
May 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio-books-2020
This is such a wonderful series!
Aug 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Loved this next book in the Gaither sisters trilogy! I love when books inspire me to learn more. Really great character progression too! Definitely worth reading! 4.5 stars
Alex  Baugh
Aug 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: randomly-reading
For all of you who became fans of the Gaither sisters - Delphine, Vonetta and Fern - in One Crazy Summer, the girls are back. And for anyone who doesn't know the Gaither sisters - they are a delight to meet.

The girls have just returned to Herkimer Street in Brooklyn after spending the summer with the mother Cecile in Oakland, CA (see One Crazy Summer). Gone for one short summer, when they get back home things are definitely different. For one thing, their father is a changed man now that he has
Linda Lipko
Jan 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
In the Newbery honor award winning One Crazy Summer, we learned of the Gaither girls and their struggle to understand the mother who abandoned them and headed to California for life dedicated to the black panther and civil rights movement. That was a five star read for me.

P.S. Be Eleven is the second book, and while not as strong as One Crazy Summer, it tugged at my heart. Told from the perspective of the oldest of the sisters, eleven year old Delphine is a stubborn, loving, spit-fire of a girl.
Jun 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
Wow, so different from One Crazy Summer. The first book included historical details that supported the story. I felt like this book did just the opposite, as if the story and characters were there as a backdrop, allowing her to place references of the period center stage. I admire the ability to create a sense of time and place, but in this case the story really was a "p.s." for me and not one that could stand on its own. One Crazy Summer was as near perfect as I could imagine, and I think it wa ...more
Feb 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is the sequel to One Crazy Summer. It starts EXACTLY where the previous book ended. If you fell in love with the first book, I guarantee you will love this one. Delphine narrates this story and has many struggles dealing with the start of 6th grade, the return of her uncle Darnell from Vietnam, her grandmother leaving, a new stepmother and overall letting her sisters become more independent. Though letters between Delphine and her mother, Delphine learns more about herself and remember ...more
Sam Bloom
It took me a while to get into this, and I am pretty sure it was out of fear: I loved One Crazy Summer so much that I was afraid its sequel wouldn't live up to the original. And it doesn't, at least not quite; OCS had Delphine, Vonetta and Fern vs. Cecile (even though it wasn't really good vs. evil per se, the conflict between mother and daughters really moved the book) and I feel like PSBE suffered somewhat from the lack of Cecile. But PSBE is still an incredibly strong book, beautifully writte ...more
Brenda Kahn
What a satisfying companion to One Crazy Summer! The Gaither girls return from Oakland very much changed only to find things changing on Herkermer Street in Brooklyn. Pa's got a lady friend, Big Mama still disapproves of the girls' visit to California, Delphine's friendships are changing and she's starting sixth grade. The audio was performed by one of my favorite narrators, Sisi Aisha Johnson, and she was spectacular as usual. While I was totally lost in the Brooklyn, 1968, I found myself wishi ...more
Mar 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
Sequel to ONE CRAZY SUMMER, but not nearly as good. Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern are back home in Brooklyn and must face some big changes in their family. Parts of the story were delightful, like the girls' obsession with the Jackson Five. There were some abrupt incidents (SPOILER ALERT!) like Big Ma moving back to Alabama. There were also some incidents that did not make sense and made me a little angry. When a wonderful book like ONE CRAZY SUMMER comes along, I understand why the publisher want ...more
Sep 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: MMM
I liked this even better than One Crazy Summer. The writing is so joyful and natural and real. I don't think it's a GREAT standalone--I think there's a lot about Cecile that would be confusing (and some of it was confusing because I don't remember everything about her very well)--but it is doable. I love this cover, too, even though it doesn't match the text; I think of it kind of as, this is how Delphine and Vonetta and Fern felt on the INside. ...more
Apr 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
So friggin cute! Interesting perspective from some of the characters on the Nixon era. I just love how Garcia is able to capture the issues of the era and still keep it kid friendly and real all at the same time!
Anna Ryckman
Nov 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the second book in Rita Williams-Garcia’s three book series about the Gaither sisters. The three sisters spent their summer visiting their mom in California where the girls got to experience a very different culture and it is a huge shock to them when they come home and find that everything has changed. The girls stay in touch with their mother through letters where she continously reminds Delphine, who is the oldest sister, to remember to act her age and shouldn’t worry about being in c ...more
Mahoghani 23
Three young ladies growing up without the most significant person a young girl needs; her mother. Their mom is a member of the Blank Panther organization & she left them in the care of their father & his mother at a very young age. Delphine is the oldest and she's responsible for her two younger siblings, Vonetta & Fern. An Impossible task for a child at the age of eleven.

How do parents expect kids to keep other children in line? When they fail, they get punished. When is the child allowed to b
☼Book her,   Danno☼
Jul 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
P.S. BE ELEVEN is a quick read. Quicker than ONE CRAZY SUMMER. Which is probably a good thing since I probably wouldn't have finished it this time around if it had been longer.

I say this because I found PS11 to be depressing. Despite the craziness of ONE CRAZY SUMMER there was an uplifting feel to the entire book. The girls' mother may have been an odd duck and rather unlikable, and she might have had a sad/tragic backstory, but there were other positives that balanced out the emotional tone.

Linda Williams Jackson

I’ve had this book on my Kindle for YEARS and finally read it. I loved it even more than One Crazy Summer. Delphine had so much on her plate that it was pretty hard to just be eleven.
Destiny Henderson
Ahhh, I'm really loving this series, and all the characters (the new ones included). Delphine's a charming, older sister and Vonetta and Fern are adorable chaos. Surely so.

Cecile's "roundabout, go through the park and stop for ice cream before she's get to the point with some hidden wisdom" letters crack me up. P.S be eleven, i.e stay in a child's place and don't try to grow up too fast.
Gulshan Naqvee
Very aptly written but very mature main character!! Too good
Jun 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loving this series! Williams-Garcia captures a time, a place and a memorable character in Delphine Gaither. All the ingredients for a great read, and again, the cover art is spot on.
Sep 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
And now I really want novels from POVs of both parents.
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice sequel

Enjoyed this read. The Author is a great writer! Interesting to see the main character grow and mature. Who sent the package?
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Fiction 2 3 Apr 27, 2016 06:59AM  
Coretta Scott Kin...: P.S. Be Eleven 1 3 Jul 19, 2015 03:25PM  
Children's Lit Su...: Painter: Book Promotion 2 5 Jun 20, 2014 07:02PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • From the Desk of Zoe Washington
  • The Friendship (Logans, #5.5)
  • Song of the Trees (Logans, #3)
  • Mississippi Bridge (Logans, #4.5)
  • The Well: David's Story (Logans, #2)
  • Three Keys (Front Desk, #2)
  • Sophia's War: A Tale of the Revolution
  • Ninth Ward
  • Inside Out & Back Again
  • Dumpling Days
  • Prisoner 88
  • The Very, Very Far North
  • Stella by Starlight
  • Smart Cookie
  • The Year of the Rat
  • Ways to Make Sunshine (Ryan Hart, #1)
  • The Gold Cadillac (Logans, #7)
  • The Only Black Girls in Town
See similar books…
See top shelves…
"I was born in Queens, N.Y, on April 13, 1957. My mother, Miss Essie, named me 'NoMo' immediately after my birth. Although I was her last child, I took my time making my appearance. I like to believe I was dreaming up a good story and wouldn’t budge until I was finished. Even now, my daughters call me 'Pokey Mom', because I slow poke around when they want to go-go-go.

"I learned to read early, and

Other books in the series

Gaither Sisters (3 books)
  • One Crazy Summer (Gaither Sisters, #1)
  • Gone Crazy in Alabama (Gaither Sisters, #3)

Related Articles

Dhonielle Clayton is a YA author, a 2018 Goodreads Choice Award nominee, and the chief operating officer of We Need Diverse Books, a...
88 likes · 10 comments
“Dear Delphine,
When you are older I want you to find Chinua Achebe. I want you to read Things Fall Apart. Don't be hardheaded and try to read this book now. Don't be hardheaded, Delphine. You are the smart one, but you are not ready. You can read all its words. Even the African words. But you will not know what Achebe is saying. It is a bad thing to bite into a hard fruit with little teeth. You will say bad things about the fruit when the problem is your teeth.
I want you to read this book. I want you to know Things Fall Apart. Fourteen is a good age to find Chinua Achebe.
Your Mother.
P.S. For now you are eleven. Be eleven.”
“Heckle and Jeckle again” 0 likes
More quotes…