In her first novel since winning the Newbery Medal for When You Trap a Tiger, Tae Keller offers a gripping and emotional story about friendship, bullying, and the possiblity that there's more in the universe than just us.
Sometimes middle school can make you feel like you're totally alone in the universe...but what if we aren't alone at all?
Thanks to her best friend, Reagan, Mallory Moss knows the rules of middle school. The most important one? You have to fit in to survive. But then Jennifer Chan moves in across the street, and that rule doesn’t seem to apply. Jennifer doesn’t care about the laws of middle school, or the laws of the universe. She believes in aliens—and she thinks she can find them.
Then Jennifer goes missing. Using clues from Jennifer’s journals, Mallory goes searching. But the closer she gets, the more Mallory has to confront why Jennifer might have run . . . and face the truth within herself.
Tae Keller lights up the sky with this insightful story about shifting friendships, right and wrong, and the power we all hold to influence and change one another. No one is ever truly alone.
Unaccustomed to new kids moving to Norwell, Fla., 12-year-old Mal Moss, who is part Korean and part white, is excited when Chinese American classmate Jennifer arrives. But when Mal learns that Jennifer believes in aliens, she worries that pursuing a friendship will negatively impact her social status at school. Mal's certainty that their classmates won't accept Jennifer's idiosyncrasies are confirmed when school begins and Jennifer becomes the target of harassment at the hands of Mal's best friends Tess and Reagan, both cued as white. After Jennifer runs away, Mal searches for her, using the help of entries from one of Jennifer's notebooks, determined to make up for past mistakes by solving the mystery behind her absence. Keller (When You Trap a Tiger) uses a vulnerable first-person narrative that alternates between past and present to sensitively detail the emotional roller coaster of navigating changing social rules, the anxieties of being oneself, and the process of coming to terms with one's flaws. Its core message about bullying and its effect on both the bully and their target offer a sincere look into individuals' desire for acceptance. An author's note concludes. Ages 8 12. Agent: Faye Bender, Book Group.