Turning Point (Paperback)
When being yourself isn’t good enough, who should you be?
Told in dual perspectives, this provocative and timely novel for middle-school readers by Paula Chase, the acclaimed author of So Done and Dough Boys, will resonate with fans of Jason Reynolds, Rebecca Stead, and Renée Watson.
Best friends Rasheeda and Monique are both good girls. For Sheeda, that means keeping her friends close and following her deeply religious and strict aunt’s every rule. For Mo, that means not making waves in the prestigious and mostly White ballet intensive she’s been accepted to.
But what happens when Sheeda catches the eye of Mo’s older brother, and the invisible racial barriers to Mo’s success as a ballerina turn out to be not so invisible? What happens when you discover that being yourself isn’t good enough? How do you fight back?
Paula Chase explores the complex and emotional issues that affect many young teens in this novel set in the same neighborhood as her acclaimed So Done and Dough Boys. Friendship, family, finding yourself, and standing your ground are the themes of this universal story that is perfect for fans of Jason Reynolds, Rebecca Stead, and Renée Watson.
About the Author
Paula Chase is the cofounder of The Brown Bookshelf, a site designed to increase awareness of African American voices writing for young readers. She lives in Annapolis, Maryland. Her novels include the acclaimed So Done and its companion, Dough Boys. www.paulachasehyman.com
“Best friends Monique and Rasheeda spend the summer before ninth grade apart when Monique gets into a prestigious ballet training program and Rasheeda is left behind to help her aunt at their close-knit church. . . . Readers will enjoy the contrasting narratives as well as the authentic dialogue. . . . Fans of . . . Jason Reynolds’s “Track” series are sure to enjoy . . . Chase writes the diverging, formative experiences of young Black girls beautifully.”
— School Library Journal (starred review)
“Two 13-year-old girls figure out what’s really important to them during a transitional summer. Best friends Monique Jenkins and Rasheeda Tate are facing unfamiliar situations without each other to lean on . . . Writing from the girls’ alternating third-person viewpoints, Chase lends authenticity to the characters’ distinct voices. She delves into the unique pressures of ballet and church cultures with empathetic understanding.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“At ballet, Mo is dealing with being one of the only Black students . . . [while] at home, Sheeda finds herself flirting, via text and in person, with Mo’s older brother Lennie and struggling to find a friend groove . . . Chase . . . captures the viewpoint and texting voices of young teens with wit and vivacity. . . . The inviting voice, vivid characterization, and comradely take on teen troubles continues to make the girls from the Cove engaging company, and readers will be keen to see what’s next.”
— Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Monique and Rasheeda are best friends . . . But when Mo is accepted into their school’s talented and gifted dance program . . . Sheeda is left questioning . . . what the girls’ summer has in store for them. With what feels like a world between them, the girls navigate unfamiliar territory and the social pressures of adolescence. . . . Chase’s latest . . . will hook readers . . . [and] is sure to shift perspectives and move hearts. . . . [A] timely middle-grade title, further diversifying representations of Black girlhood.”
“The crew from the Cove is back . . . Empathetic to the ambiguities of Black girlhood, and to adolescence in general, Chase moves effortlessly between Sheeda’s and Mo’s alternating chapters, as they go forward with a better understanding of themselves and each other. Readers will root for Sheeda and Mo’s friendship from beginning to end. . . . A solid standalone.”
— Horn Book Magazine