Sarah's Reviews > Camo Girl

Camo Girl by Kekla Magoon
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's review
Apr 27, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: ya-lit, tough-issues, race-relations

This is a story about the ups and downs of friendship and family, but also about sadness and poverty and mental illness and death--no melodrama from Magoon, but plenty for teen readers to think about and relate to.

Ella's a sixth-grader who sees herself only as an ugly misfit, even around her two closest friends: Millie, who seems to have abandoned her for the popular crowd, and "Z," who has retreated into a strange fantasy world. The compassionate Ella is unsure where to draw the boundary of taking responsibility for others, especially when Z begins to slip farther and farther from reality. Enter Bailey, a new boy who easily steps into the popular circle but doesn't ignore Ella (not just because she's "the other black kid" in their suburban Las Vegas junior high) nor disrespect Z. It doesn't take Ella long to realize that Bailey's got secrets and troubles of his own. "Everyone's got something to hide," especially in junior high where appearances are everything and kids aren't sure of themselves yet. Many of the pains of early adolescence are here, but so are some glimpses of redemptive hope.

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