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Peas and Carrots

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  321 ratings  ·  84 reviews
In this new YA novel by Tanita S. Davis, the Coretta Scott King Honor author of Mares War, a white teen named Dess is placed into foster care with a black family while her mother is incarcerated. ...more
Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published February 9th 2016 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 3.58  · 
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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
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
Ms. Yingling
Oct 26, 2015 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
As a foster parent (of sorts) myself, this one rang completely true. Excellent.
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.
Jan 19, 2016 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
Francesca Forrest
Feb 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Lovely book, sympathetic, rounded, interesting characters, a believable, complicated situation, good pacing, and a touching ending.

Fifteen-year-old Odessa (Dess) has been moved from a group home foster care situation to the home of the family who's been caring for her four-year-old brother (their parents are in jail). That family has a daughter, Hope, who's just Dess's age. Their mutually suspicious move toward friendship and understanding unfold agains the backdrop of Hope's warm,
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Surprisingly this wasn't bad I actually enjoyed it
Definitely has a message to spread
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
Apr 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Elizabeth Wein said it best when she called it "a piercing, true slice of real life." And it was kind of a nice change to read about a white foster kid finding shelter with a settled and loving African-American family.
Solid, if a little didactic, younger YA/older MG. Great for the 12-14yo fans of Wonder, not-too-edgy intro-to-issues books.
Oct 14, 2016 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.

Bethany Miller
Mar 03, 2016 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 its 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
Rachel Neumeier
Oct 06, 2016 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 its 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 thats been fostering her mixed-race baby brother. Theres 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 story.
Jun 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 50poc, woc-authors
*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
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really liked the book especially because there is so much stress going on between the sisters (one of which is a foster kid) in my story. It shows how they grew closer and relied on each other sometimes. I would totally recommend this book to anyone.
P.S. there is some bad language in it.
Aug 18, 2015 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.
Kimberli Heck
Jun 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Cute story. Very tame story line that tries to add some suspense, but it got lost somewhere.
Jun 25, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a cute middle grade read. It takes some rather weighted subjectsthe foster care system, racism, broken familiesand treats them with respect while not being overly preachy in any regard. Its another book that I think I would have appreciated more as a younger readerits well-suited to the tween audience. And its rare that I say that because most of the time it sounds pandering (this book wasnt good enough for adult me, but maybe kids will like it because theyre less critical), but in this ...more
Nov 03, 2016 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
Isabelle | Nine Tale Vixen
Closer to 2.5 stars, but rounded up.

Honestly, this was just a compilation of tropes, and it would work better as a middle grade rather than YA novel (with Dess and Hope in middle school rather than high school): the morality was simplified, the outcomes predictable, the characters archetypical. Seriously though, Dess is your typical hardened delinquent-ish foster kid who only cares about her birth family; Hope is more relatable, but still a pretty typical tryhard good girl; their conflict boils
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enlightening, important, but maybe characters are a bit 'typical' and maybe some events are a bit convenient. But there's lots of stuff here that isn't cliched or predictable, too. And I love that it's not really Juvenile lit, as the girls are teens, but it's not YA, because they're not boy-crazy or caught up in melodramatic rebellions against the world, so it's good for those in-between readers that don't really have many books just right for them.

I have to admit that I just didn't quite feel
Jul 09, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a great glimpse into the world of foster homes. Hope is the teenage daughter of an African-American family who share their home with their foster children: Austin, a four-year-old boy, and Jamaira, a baby who suffers from seizures and other physical problems. Along comes Odessa, a teenage white girl, who is a half-sister to Austin. She comes with a lot of anger, a lot of fear, and a lot of frustration. Tanita S. Davis shows us the hardships and the triumphs of foster care. There are some ...more
Mar 03, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
DNF. I was nearly done, but when the two girls suddenly became friendly without any visible character development, I got irritated and decided to move on to something else.

The book is written in first-person present-tense from Dess's perspective, and then switches to third-person past-tense in Hope's chapters. The switch in perspective wasn't a big deal (personally I dislike when there are multiple first-person narrators; I tend to lose track of who's narrating), but the switch in tense was
Audrey Ettinger
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Danielle Routh
The premise is interesting, and the twist (which, unlike the Goodreads description of this book, is not revealed in the book's own blurb) of a white foster teenager joining a black family is unexpected and really adds another layer to the story. Overall, though, the book just doesn't work. The ending is rushed, the events of the climax are unnecessary, Dess and Hope don't talk like normal sophomores, and they switch from mortal enemies to friends in what seems like one night. The whole ...more
Mar 28, 2019 rated it liked it
The book was okay, but I kind of knew what would happen in the end for most of the story. It seemed like a lot of details were glazed over so we could not get the full picture. Multiple weeks would pass in a sentence, with no character development. I think this caused the story to pull away from the small things in day-to-day life that are less action-packed, but fill up each person's life. Especially in foster homes, what matters most is this time. Also, the first-person POV for Dess compared ...more
Jun 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebooks, read-in-2017
A pretty fine story about foster care and foster siblings. Peas and Carrots is a really quick read, but it also, I fear, is one that won't stick with me.

I never quite connected with Hope or Dess, partially because so many plot threads are picked up and then dropped during the course of the book. And the ending? More of the same. It feels like we leave the story right in the middle, without much resolution.

I did love the portrayal of female friendship here, and the entire family was fantastic.
Catherine Mincy
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I would highly recommend this book for early teen readers. Some parents may find some of the background a little too mature, but it is not overly graphic. I thought it read as authentic and relevant for young teens. It was also an enjoyable read for this 40something as well!
Jun 10, 2019 rated it liked it
what the fuck
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