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Sunnyside Plaza

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  138 ratings  ·  49 reviews
Wonder meets Three Times Lucky in a story of empowerment as a young woman decides to help solve the mystery of multiple suspicious deaths in her group home.

Sally Miyake can't read, but she learns lots of things. Like bricks are made of clay and Vitamin D comes from the sun. Sally is happy working in the kitchen at Sunnyside Plaza, the community center she lives in with
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published January 21st 2020 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 3.51  · 
Rating details
 ·  138 ratings  ·  49 reviews

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Oct 18, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-2019
Read ARC: I have no idea why children were the intended audience for this book, it seems more a short story for adults, or maybe YA? Also it's a neurotypical author teaching us how those with intellectual disabilities are 'just like us,' so some incidents of people reacting negatively to these adults in the world seemed really hyperbolic.
Oct 13, 2019 rated it did not like it
At first I thought this was The Curious Incident of the Strokes in the Group Home, but it turns out it's A Neurotypical Author Teaches Us a Very Important Lesson about People with Intellectual Disabilities.
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story about a group home for mentally challenged adults fulfills the promise of its bright cover and reminder that "Kindness starts from within." Sally (Sal Gal) is 8 times 2 plus 3. She lives and works at Sunnyside Plaza. When one of the other residents suddenly passes away, the police come to the home to investigate. Within a short amount of time there is yet another death and a mysterious fall on the stairs due to a stroke. Do these unfortunate occurrences have anything to do with the ...more
Michelle Kenneth -
This leans more towards 3.5 - between liked to really liked.

I liked this story. I could not get a complete gauge on the ages of all of the residents, especially Sal. The way she understood numbers was difficult for me to understand. Was she really telling me the math problem to solve her age?

This book reminded me a lot of a girl I was friends with back in my hometown. I felt like the church forced me to be friends with her, because it's what the elders wanted. I did it with no complaints,
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley
***Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review***

I wasn't really sure why this was geared towards children.
I read this one in case I needed to hate it with a burning fire, like Wonder, but instead it just seemed extremely corny.

Let's Apply the Fries Test:

Q) Does a work have more than one disabled character? A) Definitely

Q) Do the disabled characters have their own narrative purpose other than the education and profit of a nondisabled character?
A) Ostensibly they have to solve a mystery, but Much Hay is Made of How Much Better Off the Abled Characters Are from Having Met the Disabled Characters.

Richelle Robinson
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
*Amazon Vine Review*

This was an enjoyable story about people with intellectual disabilities. I worked with this population for several years and the residents taught me so much. I still keep in contact with one of them to this day. This story showcases the stigma associated with people that have intellectual disabilities and this is something that needs to change. Some scenarios where a little over the top but as someone who has gone into the community with the individuals I have seen people
Laura Porto
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book. The view from Sally's world was incredibly well done. The acceptance and love shown to everyone again was soothing and inspirational.
Loved the idea of this book, not the execution. I really enjoyed it at first, and then it went downhill. I didn’t like the message of be kind to everyone being pushed quite so hard. Also, I thought this was supposed to be a mystery! Crimes take place, but our main character isn’t really investigating or needed to solve anything. This wouldn’t bother me so much if there was more urgency or agency from the detectives who show up in almost every chapter. Last gripe: the story is told from the ...more
Feb 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: ala-2019
3 stars - I don't know this would be appropriate as a children's book - it's not. the characters are too old and the topic is not appropriate nor handled well. As a short story for adults, it's okay, but overall someone should have realized this would not be good material for children.

I received an ARC of this title at ALA.
Dec 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-mystery
Sunnyside Plaza by Scott Simon is a short novel named for an adult group home, and narrated by one of the residents, Sally Miyake. Sal can’t read, or tie her shoes, but she notices things. When two deaths and a serious injury occur in the home, Sal gets to know the detectives that investigate the cases. The book is partly a mystery, but mainly about Sal’s acceptance of who she is, despite the attitudes of “outside” people.
I really liked Sal’s story. It’s unusual for a book for a middle-grade
Jan 30, 2020 rated it did not like it
I read 2/3 of this book, but was having some major issues with the tokenism of people with disabilities that didn't improve. I also question the fact that this is being marketed to youth as these are adults with disabilities which in itself equates them to children.
Amanda Arkans -
Dec 16, 2019 rated it did not like it
This book made me very uncomfortable. The plot was ok but the way it was told was unsettling for me, and not in a good way.
Jan 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Sally Miyake is 19 years old. She lives at Sunnyside Plaza, a home for developmentally delayed adults. She has friends of all ages and ethnicities whom we meet through the pages of the book. Two of the residents die in the story, one of them older but one of them only middle-aged. The police come to Sunnyside to investigate, and Sal and her friends decide they need to help if at all possible.

One of the things that we learn early on is that while Sal cannot read, she is observant. She pays
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this story but I'm an adult. Not sure it's appropriate for kids. It's worth being out there in print, but with a protagonist aged 2*8+3 (19) it breaks all the rules of writing for the 8-12-year-old reader who solves his/her own problems. Another book of many coming out these days that will leave editors, agents and reviewers (not to mention parents) scratching their heads as to shelf placement, but I really did enjoy it. I'm with other reviewers who rated this a bit lower (but it ...more
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was ok
I'm really struggling with this one. I don't think it's a book for kids, but I guess they decided to market it to kids because Sally and her peers have a childlike mentality...? And that's before you even get into the issue of do these disabled characters only exists to make the able-bodied charaters in the story "better" people. The idea was good but the execution of it was not great. I think this was a misfire, should have been written for adults with a more complex and in depth mystery.
Ms. Yingling
Oct 31, 2019 rated it liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss
Feb 17, 2020 added it
Shelves: skimmed
Ages 8 and up?? No. It’s a grown up book to me.
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book more than I actually did. I might give it 2 1/2 stars if Goodreads gave half stars. While the concept of the book has merit, the actual writing felt cloying and I kept thinking the author was trying too hard to make his novel interesting. Maybe it reads that way because of the narrator, Sal Gal, and how she sees the world. There's too much here that doesn't work, no matter the point of view or narration.
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Sally Miyake is a 19-year old resident of Sunnyside Plaza. In spite of the challenges she faces she carries on each day happy with her routine and her friends . What causes the death of one of the residents leads them all on an escapade and the chance to meet new friends.
I hope that there will be a sequel to this book.
Jun 27, 2019 marked it as to-read
Note: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher at ALA Annual 2019.
Nov 18, 2019 rated it liked it
I received this ARC from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Sunnyside Plaza is a residential home for adults with cognitive impairments. Sally, known affectionately as Sal Gal, loves it there. She works in the kitchen with Conrad, helping make sandwiches and fishing for fruit in cans. When several residents suffer strokes, London Bridgrs and his partner Esther turn up to investigate why.

I liked the book, the character and story. Where I got stuck on this book was
Luanne Clark
Jan 09, 2020 rated it liked it
It’s listed as a children’s chapter book, but if you’re in the mood for something light and positive, this short little book is just the ticket. Reading as an adult I wasn’t bothered by the lower reading level writing style because the shorter sentence length and simpler vocabulary was perfect for a story written in first person by a mentally challenged woman. Sally Miyake and her friends live a simple life in a nurturing group home. When a couple of the residents die within a short time, the ...more
Caroline Leavitt
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Scott Simon's an American treasure, and this book--well, this book is too. Not only does it celebrate the ordinary lives of people who might be a bit outside the mainstream, but it does it with grace, dignity and gentle humor. I love books that make me see the world differently, that illuminate life for me--and this book did. Thanks, Scott Simon.
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
This is marketed as a story for middle grade kids, but really should have been written for adults.
Oct 16, 2019 rated it liked it
There were bits I liked about this book but I did not like how it isn't an easily defined book, it's not juvenile, YA, or adult.
Dec 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2019
I had a lot of trouble writing this review.

I'm the sister of someone with an intellectual/developmental disability (Down syndrome) and as he moves through his teen years, I've certainly seen the difference in how both peers and strangers view him; there's a shift as people realize that things which seem cute or understandable for a small kid aren't going to "go away" or "get better." (I did find the number of people who were viscerally upset or uncomfortable a little unrealistic. Like, maybe
Ellen Campbell
Jan 27, 2020 rated it did not like it
I wanted to like this book. I really did. Being the parent of an adult son with an intellectual disability who lives in a residential program here in our home town, I was excited to see that there was a new juvenile fiction book that might truthfully portray the life of folks like my son. But this is not that book. My son lives in a group home with 2 other men, not an apartment like complex with 4 or 5 individuals sharing a room (I don't even think there are mini-institutional settings like that ...more
Jerry Jennings
I enjoyed this book because I believe it helps the reader learn about the “other”. And in today’s world I see a real need to appreciate the wholeness and human value of the “other”. There are not many stories that give a clear understanding of what it might be like to be interacting with a person or groups of people who are developmentally disabled. This book gives an honest and touching window into that life.

Sunnyside Plaza by Scott Simon is a interesting story about a group home for adults
Lonna Pierce
Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Sal Miyake, a 19-year old mentally challenged adult, lives with Mary, Pilar, Tony, Darnell, and others under the care of Mrs. Byrne and Conrad the cook at Sunnyside Plaza group home in a large city. Sal can't read but she does notice everything. When a spate of strokes ending in death afflicts the residents, Detectives Rivas & Bridges rely on Sal to observe what is unusual in their daily routines. A realistic glimpse into the lives of people with gifts of humor and helpfulness despite their ...more
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SCOTT SIMON is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters, having reported from all over the world and from many wars. He is now the award-winning host of Weekend Edition Saturday. With over 4 million listeners it is the most-listened to news program on NPR. Simon has won a Peabody and an Emmy for his reporting and also has over 1.2 million followers on Twitter.