Told in letters, poems, text messages, news stories, and comics--a series of documents Nora collects for the Wolf Creek Community Time Capsule Project--Breakout is a thrilling story that will leave readers thinking about who's really welcome in the places we call home.
Nora Tucker is looking forward to summer vacation in Wolf Creek--two months of swimming, popsicles, and brushing up on her journalism skills for the school paper. But when two inmates break out of the town's maximum security prison, everything changes. Doors are locked, helicopters fly over the woods, and police patrol the school grounds. Worst of all, everyone is on edge, and fear brings out the worst in some people Nora has known her whole life. Even if the inmates are caught, she worries that home might never feel the same.
A Mighty Girl Best Book of the Year
In Wolf Creek, a small town in upstate New York, middle school students learn that they'll develop a time capsule project as a summer letter-writing assignment. Best friends Nora and Lizzie, as well as new girl Elidee, imagine sharing tales of ice cream and swimming. But after two inmates escape from the local maximum-security prison, where Nora's father is the superintendent and Elidee's brother is an inmate, a new side of the friendly community is slowly revealed. Elidee's experience of racism as one of the only black people in town makes Nora and Lizzie rethink just how welcoming Wolf Creek is. Narrated by all three girls through letters, recorded conversations, and texts, this is an effective, authentically wrought look at how fear and ignorance can lead people to treat those of different races or from different places with suspicion. Messner (The Exact Location of Home) shines a light on the ways that people are blind to their own privilege while quick to judge others. Though the look at societal racism, as in the prison system, is well explained, it's the racism Nora and Lizzie discover in themselves, and their desire to change it, that will linger with readers. Ages 10 14.