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Keep It Together, Keiko Carter

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4.24  ·  Rating details ·  482 ratings  ·  135 reviews
Seventh grade is supposed to be a game changer. And Keiko thinks she's got it covered, especially with Audrey and Jenna by her side to shop for a new look, pick out a prime lunch spot, and even hit up that cute new bubble tea place after school. Her trio is ready to tackle life as they always have...together.

But when Audrey decides they need boyfriends before Fall Ball, it
...more
Hardcover, 293 pages
Published May 5th 2020 by Scholastic Press
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Average rating 4.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  482 ratings  ·  135 reviews


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Lisa (Remarkablylisa)
THIS BOOK IS EVERYTHING AND YOU NEED TO GO PICK IT UP NOW BECAUSE IT'S FAB AND CUTE AND FLUFFY AND LOVE ...more
Ms. Yingling
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus



With 7th grade about to start, Keiko is glad that her friend Jenna is back from visiting her father, who now lives in Texas. She and Audrey were worried that Jenna stopped texting them over the summer. Audrey has a plan for the school year-- the girls will all find boyfriends. Jenna is tired of following Audrey's orders, especially since she has already made friends with the boy who is Audrey's target, and Keiko is a bit weary of her as well. Keiko had been friend
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Laurie
Nov 03, 2019 added it
Shelves: read-in-2019
This book is such a delight! So many kids are going to relate to Keiko, who desperately wants to keep the peace between her two best friends and have an awesome seventh grade year as a group of three...but nothing is working out the way she hoped. I love the way this story explores all the giddy, awkward confusion of middle school crushes as well as friendships that have turned unhealthy and microaggressions that Keiko faces. It’s a fun, engaging, and thought-provoking story that will entertain ...more
Christina Carter
Please Note: Review of an Advance Reader Copy. Book publishes May 2020.

It's a new school year, and for best friends, Keiko, Audrey, and Jenna, 7th grade should be epic! They'll be in some of the same classes, have lunch together, join a few clubs so they can hang out after school, and...this is the year that they're going to have boyfriends!  Sounds simple, right? But one misunderstanding leads to another, causing an irreparable rift in their friendship. When it comes down to having to decide be
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Darla
Apr 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If a Jenny Han book had a younger sister -- it would be this middle grade debut from Debbi Michiko Florence. Keiko's story was comparable to Lara Jean's in so many good ways. Not that this is a copycat, younger version of "To All the Boys. . ." This new MG novel is a read-alike that will make Jenny Han's style seem like a new friend you connect with instantly. Keiko's story does such a great job of showing the ups and downs of middle school friendship. The addition of dog rescue and basketball t ...more
JoJo
Aug 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fun fact: I forced my library to buy this book because it was so great!
Christina Soontornvat
Jun 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My daughters and I read this aloud and we loved it! This is a very realistic portrayal of a group of friends whose lives and relationships are changing as they move through middle school. The humorous, loyal lead character is particularly easy to relate to (she loves all things chocolate!), and I loved that she had to struggle with a desire for everything to "just be fine". It's something that so many kids want and it can be hard to realize that life is never so smooth and easy. I also liked tha ...more
Danielle Hammelef
Aug 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is a delightful read that centers around the transition from grade school to middle school. The family relationships, friendships, and first crushes, as well as tougher issues of bullying, divorce, forgiveness, and racism made this a well-rounded read that I highly recommend for middle grade readers. And don't forget to peek under the dust jacket on the hard cover for all the hearts embossed on the front cover--a cute and smilely surprise for me. ...more
Lisa Asanuma
Very cute, with some good lessons on friendship and learning how to put yourself first.
Pandora
This is the first book I've ever read from this author and I absolutely LOVED it. It talks about real issues like racism, misrepresentation of races/cultures in films, divorce, toxic friendships/relationships, racial fetishization, and even drinking. I loved all the different sibling dynamics, Audrey had an older brother she resented, Keiko had a loving (but at times secretive bond with her little sister Macy, and Jenna was an only child with divorced parents. Throughout the novel, you got to se ...more
Ari
Aug 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I think this should be recommended for any age because my grandma hates my book choices but she enjoyed this one. SO PLEASE READ THIS!!!
Critter
The new school year has begun and with it comes great change. Keiko Carter and her friends, Audrey and Jenna have just become 7th graders and are excited at their new opportunities, future dances, and potential boyfriends. But, conflict between them strikes and begins pushing them apart even though Keiko is trying hard to keep them together.

This was such an amazing book. Debbie Michiko Florence created an incredibly authentic and relatable voice in Keiko. I can see many children relating to Keik
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TheNextGenLibrarian
Feb 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
I feel like I’ve had this on my TBR FOREVER so I’m so happy I got to finish it this weekend.
❄️
Keiko Carter is about to start 7th grade and there’s some tension between her two best friends Audrey and Jenna. The obsession over boyfriends, clubs, friendships and family drama create a divide between Keiko and her friends, sister and parents. Keiko doesn’t like change, but this year is creating nothing but upheaval in her life. Will she be able to get her footing and resolve all her relationships?
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Dany
Jun 29, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

Keep it Together Keiko Carter was such a fun and interesting read . I blew through the book in two days and here's my likes and dislikes on the book.

First off ,

🌟Keiko is the ultimate Mom friend of her group which made the book really personal for me. I used to be a mom friend in my group and now I'm getting out of the habit and putting myself first a lot.

🌟The sibling dynamics

Keiko has two friends. One of her friends has a brother and the other one is a single child. The sibling dynamic
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Mrs. Mazzola
Charming story about the awkward confusion of first crushes, evolving friendships, and embracing who you are, that also successfully tackles racism, microaggressions, and toxic relationships. I like how Keiko evolves over the story, but the rest of the characters are a little one note, and Audrey is horrendous and unredeemable, but otherwise, great middle school story.

*Thank you to Edelweiss+ and the publisher for a digital copy. All opinions are my own.*
Miriya
May 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a very good book. It felt very "real." The characters didn't feel too perfect or anything. The situations in this book felt like they could happen to anyone, which was why I liked it. Keiko is torn between several different friends. She just wants everything to go back to normal. I like how she learns that it's important to make herself happy, not just take care of everyone else. ...more
Elly Swartz
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved it! KEEP IT TOGETHER, KEIKO CARTER by Debbi Michiko Florence pulled me in and tugged on my heart. Readers will connect with and relate to Keiko and the world she’s trying hard to navigate. They will no doubt see their world in hers. As the story unfolds, Keiko ultimately finds herself and her voice as she explores changing friendships, first crushes, and family dynamics. Highly recommend.

I received and read an arc of this book.
Alyssa
Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
This book is just so, so good. It is a perfect in between MG and YA book, and the voice is super strong. Keiko is a totally endearing and earnest protagonist, and so many tweens/teens will relate to her. I also love that this is a story of crushes, school dances, and friendship drama, but also racism and toxic friendships. Keiko realizes that a friendship that doesn't make her happy isn't one worth having, and I think this is such an important thing for tweens/teens to read. ...more
Kassie
Oct 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent one time read! It's cute, it's funny, and it gave me butterflies. 🦋🦋🦋 It made me remember my elementary and junior high best friends and crushes. It's about accepting change and allowing others make choices and finding what makes you happy. Oh, and chocolate. It's about chocolate! ...more
Mary
Dec 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Solid middle grade. I would recommend this on the higher end of middle grade but i did enjoy this immensely! Newbery contender, maybe? It feels too happy for Newbery, but it’s a solid boom either way.
Kimberly
Apr 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book was sweet middle school perfection. Keiko was such a great character that I couldn’t help but get wrapped up in her world (even though it’s been a minute since I was 13.) This book captures the excitement, insecurity, and anxiousness that comes with growing up and dealing with change. Can’t wait to get this one in my classroom!
Greg Andree
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
[I also loved this book, but I'm sure you'd rather hear from an actual 7th grader. This is a review by 12yo Novalee.]

Keep It Together, Keiko Carter is an amazing book by Debbi Michiko Florence. It was about a girl going into seventh grade named Keiko. But, her friends are drifting apart and fighting, and between a new boy and an old friend. Of course Keiko feels obligated to fix everything.
This book is so relatable. With friends getting into fights about small things that escalate, what do you
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Kristin Crouch
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to the author for sharing an ARC with Collabookation.
Keiko Carter is a people pleaser. She feels a constant pull to keep the peace~ whether it's at home when she finds ways to entertain her sister during her grandfather's negativity, or trying to balance between her two friends, Audrey and Jenna. And balancing between Audrey and Jenna is no easy task, as they have so few commonalities besides Keiko. This book is the ungluing of a trio of girls who thought they'd be best friends foreve
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Elissa Sweet
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
KEEP IT TOGETHER, KEIKO CARTER is the kind of book I want every preteen girl to read, because it feels so true to the experience of being a middle-school girl and navigating the tough social waters of female friendship, cliques and crushes. It's packed with pop culture references, friend drama, cute boys, and adorable dogs, and as young readers race through the story, they might not even notice that they're also learning great lessons about hard choices, growing up and growing apart, staying tru ...more
Afoma (Reading Middle Grade)
Keep It Together, Keiko Carter is a strong middle-grade debut, perfect for anyone who enjoys middle-grade books about friendships. Parents and teachers who want to encourage their middle schoolers to stand up for themselves in the midst of a toxic friendship would do well to hand this book to them. At the end, it’s so important to learn that some friendships end, and that’s OK. Finally, it’s a breath of fresh air to read a book with a half-Japanese protagonist who deals with racism, but also jus ...more
Cody Roecker
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Utterly adorable. I love that this book showcases toxic friendships and how to overcome them. It's absolutely beautiful ...more
lise hoyer
Jul 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read2020
Overall, I felt like it had an important message, and was very good! Did not really like Audrey all that much, because she felt demanding and only cared about herself. Definitely recommend though!
Rebekah
May 10, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Karina
Rating: 4.5 Stars: ★★★★ 1/2
Keep It Together, Keiko Carter is a charming middle grade novel! Keiko is tackling friendship, first love, while also navigating family, school, and fear of change. At its core, this is a story about balancing all the things in life while also achieving your own happiness. An utter delight, Keiko's journey shines!

This book is everything I needed right now and wow did I LOVE it! Keiko is starting 7th grade and she's ready to tackle what comes her way. But when her f
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Becky B
Keiko is starting 7th grade. 7th grade is supposed to be fantastic, but it is off to a bit of a rocky start. Her mom is working ALL the time for her new job, and Keiko, her sister Macy, and Dad miss her. Her best friends trio is back together after Jenna was gone for the summer with her dad, but Jenna seems a little distant. Audrey has enthusiastically decided that the three of them should get boyfriends in time for the Fall Dance, but Keiko isn't sure she wants to just find a guy to check off a ...more
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Author of the middle grade books: KEEP IT TOGETHER KEIKO CARTER (Scholastic/2020) and JUST BE COOL, JENNA SAKAI (Scholastic, Aug 2021). KEEP IT TOGETHER KEIKO CARTER is a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection, a New England Book Award finalist, and a Project LIT 2020-21 Book Club selection.

Also the author of the chapter book series Jasmine Toguchi about a spunky Japanese American 8yo girl.
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