Parents' Guide to

My Name Is Not Easy

By Sally Engelfried, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Fascinating story of Alaskan kids growing up in the 1960s.

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A dual narrative can be difficult to pull off; Edwardson succeeded in her first novel, Blessing's Bead, and does a decent job in her second. Here, she writes from the point of view of not two but five different characters. Edwardson's strengths lie in her poetic imagery and complex characterizations that let you understand each person's motives and emotions. However, though the situations of each character are varied and the family history of each is interesting, the voices themselves are not always distinct. This, along with the fact that the book covers a period of four school years, gives the reader sometimes too-brief glimpses into what the large cast of characters is going through. Still, it also helps move the story along at a brisk pace and, despite the brevity, it is easy to get caught up in this fascinating world and to feel invested in whether Luke will ever see his little brother again, or if group leaders Sonny and Amiq will overcome their differences.

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