Max and Menna by Shauna Kelley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I came across this book through BookTasters. I am so happy I chose to read it!
This book destroyed me...in that good way that only a phenomenal book can. I am not going to lie. It is not your average teen issue but happy ending book. It has heavy topics and the ending? I'll leave that up to you.
Max and Menna are 11 years old twins. They live in poverty in a small southern town with their alcoholic mom and older sister. This is their coming of age story told from each of their viewpoints. There is so much that I want to say; that I want to discuss. But I don't do spoilers. And honestly, it has been 7 hours since I finished it and I still cry. Very few books touch me this deeply. I love Max, Menna and Nick. My heart just breaks for them and a few other characters.
The story is deep and, for me, feels real. I spent my childhood between small town southern life and big city life where the white supremacists had headquarters not far from my home. My city, Chicago, had a fence that divided a portion of the city; white on one side, black on the other. I can remember walking with a girlfriend and some boys. I remember the looks. I remember them having to cross the street, for their safety, and then a few blocks away, returning to us. Ironically, they were walking with us to make sure we got home safely. The story is not an easy read. You will read of abuse, neglect, alcoholism, bullies, racism, violence against girls and rape. It is an important story. When we look the other way we make a decision. When we ignore history we make a decision. When we choose words carefully, changing them, we make a decision. All decisions have consequences, good or bad. Books like this one have power. They have power to show how far we have come and how far we still have to go.
I have read books that I said were the best of the year. This is the first time I have read a book that I would call the best in a decade. In my opinion, this is a book for teens and up. Preteens if an adult buddy reads so they can discuss the issues. I think this is an excellent book for classroom and teen book clubs.
*I did receive an ecopy for review purposes. The actual book may or may not vary from my copy.
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