PEAS AND CARROTS by Tanita S.  Davis


Age Range: 12 - 16
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Unwillingly brought together, two girls rely on snap judgements to guide their encounters with each other, and as a result, tempers flare.

Fifteen-year-old Dess Matthews, a white girl, has bounced from the streets to juvenile homes to foster care. Her dad is an abusive drug dealer. Her mom is a meth addict. Her grandma doesn’t want her. And her little brother, Austin, is in foster care. Hope Carter, also 15, a black girl, has lived a very different life—a comfortable one…except for the constant barrage of foster children streaming through her parents’ house, the latest being Austin. Dess is annoyed when she arrives at the Carters’ perfect home. Their daughter, whom she’s cruelly nicknamed “Hopeless,” is naïve, and Austin thinks of the Carters as his real family. One glance at Dess gives Hope all the information she needs to know about her new fashionista foster sister; Dess is trouble, especially with her “dragon-lady nails” and “unfriendly eyes.” The dialogue is sometimes clunky and awkward, but Davis’ dual narrative effectively portrays two very different but very genuine teenage characters—two girls learning to accept each other’s vastly different lifestyles as they try to coexist. Their relationship is fraught with tension, and their familial situations aren’t perfect, fostering an emotionally honest plot and candid conversations about race and class.

A worthy read for teens looking to expand their worldviews. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Feb. 9th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-553-51281-6
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2015


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