When the Ground Is Hard
In this stunning and heartrending tale set in a Swaziland boarding school, two girls of different castes bond over a shared copy of Jane Eyre.
Adele Joubert loves being one of the popular girls at Keziah Christian Academy. She knows the upcoming semester at school is going to be great with her best friend Delia at her side. Then Delia dumps her for a new girl with more mone
The author has a tremendous ability for describing her settings and this book took me straight back to the short time I spent in Swaziland. I could see that busy bus stop in the early morning and hear the hubbub of chattering people ...more
Adele a ...more
Eswatini is one of the smallest countries in Africa and is landlocked by South Africa and Mozambique to the north. Swaziland was a British high commission territory from ...more
This is a cute story in a somewhat bleak setting, of two teenage girls from different backgrounds attending boarding school and becoming friends. It’s definitely aimed at kids in that there’s not a lot of nuance and the text tends to point things out rather than letting readers draw their own conclusions, but I still mostly enjoyed it.
The book is set in 1960s Swaziland under apartheid, and the narrator, Adele, is the daughter of a white South African father and mixed-race mother, atten ...more
Adele was part of the rich girls crowd, until she's assigned a new roommate, Lottie, a much poorer girl. Adele is deeply aware of all the ways s ...more
Author Nunn writes from personal experience, as she attended the same boarding school as a y ...more
I'm always looking for ownvoices books written by authors with perspectives from outside the United States. I'm a public Librarian, and I particularly look for middle-school (grades 6-8) books, as historically I've been invited to present booktalks to virtually all of the thousands of middle school students in my local school district. It's also important that the books have great covers. This book was an easy one to pick for that line-up.
Nunn tells a story apparently based ...more
I loved the setting, I could just picture the dry, red lands of Swaziland with the boarding school of mixed-race children in the middle of the dusty lands with the river, and forbidden banana trees. The author did a fantastic job showing versus telling.
Adele and Lottie were such likable, real MCs. I loved how frank Adele spoke about her relationship with her father and what ...more
I have no idea why this was such a compelling read. Maybe because all these cla ...more
This was an emotional read, and it was really nice to find a YA novel that is based in Africa.
I picked this book up purely because it's set in Swaziland (now Eswatini) and I've never read anything set there before. And for the most part, I enjoyed it. But it also would have been good to lead with the fact that it's set in the 1960s under apartheid, because for the majority of the book I just assumed everyone was just racist and bigoted.
I enjoyed this, but I did feel like it took a litt ...more
Swaziland, perhaps the 1960s. The year isn't named, but Adele is a student while Swaziland is a British protectorate, and Swaziland gained independence in 1968. Her school is one of careful striations of power: the students are all mixed race, and if they've learned anything, it's that race matters. Race, and money. As Adele understands it, being mixed race makes one superior to being fully black, and being ligh ...more
For the full review and a short analysis of the gender gap and some initiatives or projects that are working to improve the situation of the women in Eswatini visit:
The 60’s in the British Protectorate of Swaziland: In Keziah Christian Academy, a missionary boarding school for mixed-race students, Adele, a “nice” and well-behaved young woman, is downgraded from the “pretties’” room, a room where only the richest girls sleep. The school is ruled by money.. ...more
I honestly didn’t know what to expect going into this book. All I knew was that two girls came together through a copy of a book. Does a book lover need to know much else? What ended up happening was I stumbled into a story of a young girl realizing that she has dreams and worth, and a friendship that changed their lives.
Adele is popular in school. She is mixed race with a white father, so that automatically ...more
This is a story about Adele, a mixed-race girl growing up in the 1960's in Swaziland. She attends a boarding school with other mixed-race children, where she is popular and enjoys the benefits of her family's economic status. However, this year, things change when she is cast out of the popular group and forced to roommate with Lottie, a troublemaker from a poor family. While Adele is not happy with this development at first, this bo ...more
I love reading other cultures and their history. When the Ground is Hard did an excellent job in bringing me into the life of a 16 year old in Swaziland. Set in 1960, we follow two girls with different social backgrounds and how they got to know one another during their time in boarding school.
There was tremendous character development with a beautiful and detailed story that talked about racism, being born in the wrong social class, and the concept of friendship. I found it hard to put down ...more
There aren’t enough fantastic coming of age stories featuring girls of color. When the Ground is Hard rises to the top of fantastic in this genre. The heroine and her best friend are smart, complex, real, and it’s impossible not to love them. Nunn’s writing took me right into the heart of Swaziland in all it’s complexity, yet also told a universal ta ...more