Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Anywhere but Paradise

Anywhere but ParadiseAnywhere but Paradise by Anne Bustard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm writing this review in July, 2014, nearly a year before the release date. I have no idea how accurate this review is about the final book.

You have been warned.

Thank you, NetGalley and Egmont USA, for this free book to review!
Moving from Texas to Hawaii in 1960,12-year-old Peggy Sue faces a difficult transition when she is bulled as one of the few haole (white) students in her school. This lyrical debut novel is perfect for Common Core classroom connections.

It's 1960 and Peggy Sue has just been transplanted from Texas to Hawaii for her father's new job. Her cat, Howdy, is stuck in animal quarantine, and she's baffled by Hawaiian customs and words. Worst of all, eighth grader Kiki Kahana targets Peggy Sue because she is haole--white--warning her that unless she does what Kiki wants, she will be a victim on "kill haole day," the last day of school. Peggy Sue's home ec teacher insists that she help Kiki with her sewing project or risk failing. Life looks bleak until Peggy Sue meets Malina, whose mother gives hula lessons. But when her parents take a trip to Hilo, leaving Peggy Sue at Malina's, life takes an unexpected twist in the form of a tsunami. Peggy Sue is knocked unconscious and wakes to learn that her parents safety and whereabouts are unknown. Peggy Sue has to summon all her courage to have hope that they will return safely.
One thing I really liked was how it showed that white people (haoles) can be bullied because of their skin color too. Even though it's set in the 60s and in Hawaii, this is still a tale to be told.

Despite how much I dislike her name (Peggy Sue? Really?), she really is a likable character. I could feel how much she missed her cat and her terror when the tsunami hit.

What I didn't like as much was Peggy Sue's reaction to Kill Haole Day. While the likelihood of Kiki actually killing someone is slim, THIS IS SERIOUS. Don't the teachers realize that at the end of every school year, the white kids get beat up? Why don't they take extra precautions? Have some responsibility, people.

Would I read other books by Anne Bustard? Maybe. I found her writing style confusing at times, but still enjoyable.

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  1. The story line sounds interesting! Great review.

  2. I agree with you, but in real life, a lot of teachers did turn their backs on things like that, especially if it was happening to an ethnic minority. :/ But I'm glad they're making this point. Racism against whites isn't just a modern thing, it dates way back. After all, who do you think was being sold most often in the Roman Empire Um... Franks, Gauls, Germans, Angles, sought after for their pale skin and odd colored hair and eyes. Also, I know for a fact this was a thing even in the 60s. Back then, a girl in my family almost wasn't allowed to marry a man for the sole reason that he was white. Did he have any objections to her? Heck no! Her father had objections to the boy since he was an "albino". It's important to remember that back then, being white didn't automatically make you a racist and certainly didn't ensure you lived an easy lifestyle. Nice review!