By Terreece Clarke,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Honest, warm story of family, identity, police brutality.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Vocabulary words introduced and explained in context of school and within story. Delves into what it's like to be biracial and deal with micro-aggressions, racism, identity.
Explores idea of combating hatred, hurtful actions of few with positive action and support of many. A school's student body can come together to support victim of a racist act. It's important for parents to have courage to apologize. Divorced parents need to work together, realize how their actions toward each other affect their children.
Positive Role Models
Isabella is brave enough to call out her friends when they say something inappropriate, rather than laughing it off or ignoring it. She calls out a crush's backhanded compliment, which was tough and embarrassing to do, but important.
Violence & Scariness
A girl is shot and blood is shown. A girl is harassed because of her race, and two young people are followed in a store because they are black. A young adult is accused of a crime and subject to police brutality. Lynching is discussed in class as a hate crime against African Americans.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some typical middle school crushes, discussion of an older teen dating, and four adults get engaged.
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Products & Purchases
A couple of stores (Graeter's, Goodwill) and Waffle House restaurant mentioned for scene setting.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Blended, by award-winning author Sharon Draper (Out of My Mind, Stella by Starlight), is a multilayered story about 11-year old Isabella, who's growing up biracial, dealing with divorce and co-parenting, and navigating micro-aggressions as a person of color. A girl is shot and blood is shown. Parents should be prepared to discuss family dynamics, being an ally, and police brutality.
Where to Read
Based on 2 parent reviews
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What's the Story?
In BLENDED, Isabella's mom is white and her dad is black, and when they divorce she feels like there will always be two sides of her pulled in different directions. Two houses, two families, two backpacks, two different sets of rules, two different kids: Izzy and Isabella. Just when it looks like things couldn't get any crazier, Isabella's friend is targeted at school, and a routine trip ends in horror.
Is It Any Good?
This novel is a perfect mixture of a coming-of-age story, identity development, family dynamics, and social commentary. Blended offers a compelling, nuanced reflection on age-old questions made modern: Who am I? Where do I belong? What makes a family? Why do people judge others on factors beyond their control? Family dynamics change and shift, often leaving kids lost in the cracks. Author Sharon Draper captures these feelings with sensitivity and humor. She's also unafraid to tackle police brutality in the age of social media -- what that means for victims, and what it means for kids just trying to figure out who they are and how they fit in the world.
Kids will enjoy Blended for its realistic portrayal that makes them think but doesn't talk down to them. Adults will love it because it's a great catalyst for discussions on difficult topics.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the portrayal of co-parenting in Blended. How does the custody arrangement Isabella's parents have affect her? Do you or do you have friends that experience the same thing? How do you communicate your needs and feelings to family, especially in difficult situations?
What's the role of social media in identifying police brutality? How do videos help? How do they hurt? Do you think people would still talk about the issue if there weren't videos highlighting it?
How important is it to respect someone's identity and be careful of stereotyping that person? What are some stereotypes people might apply to you? Your friends? How unfair and off-base would their labels be?
- Author: Sharon M. Draper
- Genre: Contemporary Fiction
- Topics: Great Girl Role Models, Middle School
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
- Publication date: October 30, 2018
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 320
- Available on: Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks
- Last updated: January 14, 2019
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Where to Read
Our Editors Recommend
Books to Help Kids Deal with Divorce
Books About Racism and Social Justice
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