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Not Your All-American Girl



by
Wendy Wan-Long Shang ,Madelyn Rosenberg

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
Scholastic
Imprint
Scholastic Press
ISBN
9781338037760
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism , Language: Racial or Ethnic Epithet/Slur
$15.00   $12.50
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Lauren and her best friend, Tara, have always done absolutely everything together. So when they don't have any classes together in sixth grade, it's disastrous. The solution? Trying out for the school play. Lauren, who loves to sing, wonders if maybe, just maybe, she will be the star instead of Tara this time.

But when the show is cast, Lauren lands in the ensemble, while Tara scores the lead role. Their teacher explains: Lauren just doesn't look the part of the all-American girl. What audience would believe that she, half-Jewish, half-Chinese Lauren, was the everygirl star from Pleasant Valley, USA?

From amidst the ensemble, Lauren tries to support her best friend. But when she can't bring herself to sing anymore, her spot in the play and her friendship are in jeopardy. With the help of a button-making business, the music of Patsy Cline, and her two bickering grandmothers, can Lauren find her voice again?

Black-and-white illustrations.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism , Language: Racial or Ethnic Epithet/Slur

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

256

Trim Size

8 1/4" x 5 1/2"

Dewey

F

AR

4.4: points 7

Genre

Fiction

Scholastic Reading Counts

0

JLG Release

Oct 2020

Book Genres

Realistic Fiction

Topics

Children’s plays. Theater. Musicals. Stereotypes (social psychology). Best friends. Friendship. Grandmothers. Racially mixed people. Jewish people. Chinese Americans.


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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

School Library Journal

School Library Journal

When Lauren Horowitz tries out for her middle school’s musical, she thinks she might have a shot at the lead. She loves to sing, and even her classmates tell her that her audition is great. But when the drama teacher tells her she doesn’t look “all-American” because she’s Chinese and Jewish, Lauren begins to doubt whether her dream of being a singer is possible. While balancing her place in the ensemble, her growing button-making business, and her family’s hopes and expectations, Lauren starts to question her place in her suburban community in 1980s Tennessee. The text is interspersed with illustrations of the buttons Lauren wears and ends with selected pages of the play’s program. While many subtle cultural and historical references may be lost on a young reader, Lauren’s story is a sensitive and realistic portrayal of a girl who struggles to find her place in a community where very few people look like her. The 1982 murder of Vincent Chin plays a role in the story, and the authors address it in a way that is accessible to an elementary school audience without shying away from the racist motivations of the attack. Though this book is a sequel to 2017’s This Is Just a Test, it is a self-contained story, and readers do not need to read the titles in order. For fans of Jenn Bigelow’s Drum Roll, Please and Ann Hood’s She Loves You, this is a funny, tender, quick-moving story of family, friendship, identity, and music.

Horn Book

This follow-up to This Is Just a Test stars Lauren Le Yuan Horowitz, sister of the previous book’s protagonist. In 1984 suburban Virginia, Lauren is starting sixth grade secure in the “Royal We” of her and her best friend, Tara. Auditioning for the school musical, Lauren—a talented singer who nails her “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” rendition—is disappointed to be cast in the ensemble while Tara snags the lead. The show is about a 1950s “All-American Town,” and according to the drama teacher, Chinese and Jewish Lauren doesn’t fit the part. Casual racism and microaggressions abound through Lauren’s day-to-day interactions with friends, community members, and even ’80s pop culture (i.e., squirming her way through Sixteen Candles). Her growing love for country music (with an extended vignette about mistaking Patsy Cline for Jewish) helps boost her confidence, as do new friendships with her ensemble-mates. A side story about Lauren’s paralegal mom contemplating law school—and her daughter’s bratty reaction—leads to support and understanding. Lauren’s two peppy grandmothers, in continual competition for matriarchal domination, are back, providing generational wisdom and snappy comic relief. A button-making business, a Sun In hair mishap, a hula-hooping janitor—all add levity and scene-setting detail to this entertaining and thoughtful coming-of-age story. ELISSA GERSHOWITZ

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

When Lauren Horowitz tries out for her middle school’s musical, she thinks she might have a shot at the lead. She loves to sing, and even her classmates tell her that her audition is great. But when the drama teacher tells her she doesn’t look “all-American” because she’s Chinese and Jewish, Lauren begins to doubt whether her dream of being a singer is possible. While balancing her place in the ensemble, her growing button-making business, and her family’s hopes and expectations, Lauren starts to question her place in her suburban community in 1980s Tennessee. The text is interspersed with illustrations of the buttons Lauren wears and ends with selected pages of the play’s program. While many subtle cultural and historical references may be lost on a young reader, Lauren’s story is a sensitive and realistic portrayal of a girl who struggles to find her place in a community where very few people look like her. The 1982 murder of Vincent Chin plays a role in the story, and the authors address it in a way that is accessible to an elementary school audience without shying away from the racist motivations of the attack. Though this book is a sequel to 2017’s This Is Just a Test, it is a self-contained story, and readers do not need to read the titles in order. For fans of Jenn Bigelow’s Drum Roll, Please and Ann Hood’s She Loves You, this is a funny, tender, quick-moving story of family, friendship, identity, and music.

Horn Book

This follow-up to This Is Just a Test stars Lauren Le Yuan Horowitz, sister of the previous book’s protagonist. In 1984 suburban Virginia, Lauren is starting sixth grade secure in the “Royal We” of her and her best friend, Tara. Auditioning for the school musical, Lauren—a talented singer who nails her “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” rendition—is disappointed to be cast in the ensemble while Tara snags the lead. The show is about a 1950s “All-American Town,” and according to the drama teacher, Chinese and Jewish Lauren doesn’t fit the part. Casual racism and microaggressions abound through Lauren’s day-to-day interactions with friends, community members, and even ’80s pop culture (i.e., squirming her way through Sixteen Candles). Her growing love for country music (with an extended vignette about mistaking Patsy Cline for Jewish) helps boost her confidence, as do new friendships with her ensemble-mates. A side story about Lauren’s paralegal mom contemplating law school—and her daughter’s bratty reaction—leads to support and understanding. Lauren’s two peppy grandmothers, in continual competition for matriarchal domination, are back, providing generational wisdom and snappy comic relief. A button-making business, a Sun In hair mishap, a hula-hooping janitor—all add levity and scene-setting detail to this entertaining and thoughtful coming-of-age story. ELISSA GERSHOWITZ

Grades 5-8
Realistic Fiction Middle Plus
For Grades 5-8

This 14-book category features stories with relatable characters that portray believable contemporary or historical real-life experiences.

14 books per Year
$235.90 per Year
Interests
Chapter Books/Novels,Diversity,Fiction,History,Realistic Fiction
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Grades 5-8
Realistic Fiction Middle Plus
14 books per Year
$235.90 per Year

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