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Just Like Me
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Just Like Me
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Just Like Me is the perfect book for middle school girls and doubles as an adoption book for kids, as three adopted sisters navigate their relationship with one another while at summer camp.From the...
Just Like Me is the perfect book for middle school girls and doubles as an adoption book for kids, as three adopted sisters navigate their relationship with one another while at summer camp.From the...
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Description-

  • Just Like Me is the perfect book for middle school girls and doubles as an adoption book for kids, as three adopted sisters navigate their relationship with one another while at summer camp.

    From the award-winning author of This Journal Belongs to Ratchet, comes a funny, uplifting summer camp story about unlikely friendships and finding your place in the world, making this the perfect growing up book for girls. Told through a mix of traditional narrative and journal entries, don't miss this funny, surprisingly sweet summer read!

    Who eats Cheetos with chopsticks?! Avery and Becca, my "Chinese Sisters," that's who. We're not really sisters—we were just adopted from the same orphanage. And we're nothing alike. They like egg rolls, and I like pizza. They wave around Chinese fans, and I pretend like I don't know them.

    Which is not easy since we're all going to summer camp to "bond." (Thanks, Mom.) To make everything worse, we have to journal about our time at camp so the adoption agency can do some kind of "where are they now" newsletter. I'll tell you where I am: At Camp Little Big Lake in a cabin with five other girls who aren't getting along, competing for a camp trophy and losing (badly), wondering how I got here...and where I belong.

    Told through a mix of traditional narrative and journal entries, don't miss this funny, surprisingly sweet summer read!

    "A tender and honest story about a girl trying to find her place in the world, and the thread that connects us all."—Liesl Shurtliff, author of Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin 
    "A heartwarming story about the universal struggle of yearning to be an individual while longing to fit in."—Karen Harrington, author of Sure Kinds of Crazy

 

Awards-

Excerpts-

  • From the book

    1

    The camp bus sputtered and chugged up the interstate, sounding as if this might be its last trip. Avery sat across the aisle from me with her earbuds on, practicing a Chinese vocabulary lesson. Becca sat next to her, chewing on a straw and watching a soccer match on her cell phone.

    "Ni hao ma," Avery said, her chin-length hair with bangs making her look studious in her thick, black-framed glasses.

    When she saw me looking at her, she pulled out one earbud and offered it to me.

    Did she really think I wanted to learn Chinese with her?

    "Technically the lesson I'm working on is review, but I could teach you the basics if you want."

    I looked around at all the kids on the bus staring at her and shook my head.

    "GO! GO! GO!" Becca yelled, pumping her fist in the air as she cheered for Spain's soccer team. Her hair spilled out of her ponytail as if she were playing in the soccer game instead of just watching it. "Booyah! Score!"

    As kids stood up on the bus to see what all the yelling was about, I slid down in my seat, and the driver gave us that "death look" in her rearview mirror. The one that said, "If I have to stop this bus, somebody's gonna get it..."

    "Hey, Julia!" Becca yelled, holding up her phone. "Wanna watch with me? The game just went into overtime!"

    "No thanks."

    Crowding around a tiny phone screen and watching people kick a soccer ball around was not my idea of fun.

    My idea of fun was craft camp at the park district with my best friend, Madison, but Mom said I had the rest of the summer to do that.

    Instead I was heading north toward Wisconsin to Camp Little Big Woods, but at least that was better than heading south toward Indiana for Summer Palace Chinese Culture Camp.

    As soon as we "graciously" agreed to be the subjects of Ms. Marcia's adoption article, she suggested that the three of us spend a week together making paper lanterns and learning the pinyin alphabet at culture camp.

    "It will be a great way for you girls to reconnect not only with each other, but also with your heritage," Ms. Marcia had gushed.

    She loved treating us as if we were two instead of almost twelve.

    But I said there was no way I was going to eat Chinese food three times a day and do tai chi every morning, so we settled on the sleepaway camp Avery and Becca went to every year.

    I reached into the pocket of my suitcase and pulled out the plastic lacing of the gimp friendship bracelet I had started a few days ago. I had planned to finish it before camp so that I could give it to Madison when I said good-bye to her, but I'd run out of time. I decided I'd try to finish it while I was at camp and mail it to her along with a nice, long letter saying how much I missed her.

    "Hey, Julia!" Becca yelled. "What's that?"

    "Nothing," I said. "Just a friendship bracelet for my friend Madison."

    "COOL!" Becca yelled. "We should totally make those for each other in the arts-and-crafts room at camp."

    She went back to her straw-chewing and her tiny-phone-screen soccer game.

    Friendship bracelets for the three of us? I guess "technically" as Avery would say, the three of us were friends. But even though "technically" I had known Avery and Becca longer than I had known my parents, I couldn't imagine ever thinking of them as the friendship-bracelet kind of friends.

    What are your thoughts on the Chinese proverb: "An invisible red thread connects those destined to...

About the Author-

  • Nancy J. Cavanaugh has a BS in education and an MA in curriculum and instruction with multiple published works. She was a teacher for more than fifteen years and currently works as a Library Media Specialist at an elementary school. Nancy lives in Tarpon Springs, FL with her husband and daughter. Visit www.nancyjcavanaugh.com

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    January 15, 2016
    Although she doesn't identify as Chinese, Julia, an 11-year-old girl adopted from China, is sent to sleepaway camp for a week to bond with the two other girls who were adopted from the same orphanage at the same time. There are two interconnected plots in Cavanaugh's third novel directed at middle-grade girls (Always, Abigail, 2014, etc.); one concerns Julia's acceptance of her heritage and feelings about being adopted, the other involves a camp competition that forces Julia and her at-war bunkmates to work together and eventually develop a liking for one another. After stirring up some initial interest, the story goes through a didactic and dull stretch as the camp competition and its subsequent life lessons pile up. Near the end, however, the story shifts again, gaining gravitas and becoming incredibly moving. Julia starts to come to terms with the sea of repressed emotions that surrounds her adoption, and her bunkmates, who have their own secrets and vulnerabilities, acknowledge and share them as well. The campers are differentiated well enough for readers to remember who's who, but except for narrator Julia and her bunkmate Gina, a foster child who pretends that everything is a joke, they don't have much in the way of shading or soul. Tame tale redeemed by a touching ending. (Fiction. 9-13)

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    January 1, 2016

    Gr 4-7-Eleven-year-old Julia heads reluctantly off to Camp Little Big Woods, a Christian summer camp for girls in Wisconsin, along with exuberant, sporty Becca, and talkative, pedantic Avery. All three were in the same orphanage in China as babies and now have journals from Ms. Marcia, their families' adoption agency coordinator, who is writing an article about transracial adoptees. Placed in a cabin with queen bee Vanessa; her fawning sidekick, Meredith; and her decidedly uncool cousin, Gina, the girls find that tempers flare, nerves fray, and friendships are sorely tested. Becca and Avery are equally at ease with their Chinese background and American upbringing, while Julia is more ambivalent thanks to a mother who denies that race is a factor in how she is treated and some insensitive classmates and teachers. Tween readers will find much to identify with in this charming and refreshingly wholesome coming-of-age story. Set to a soundtrack of 1970s and 1980s disco and pop classics and filled with swimming, campfires, games, and an occasional Bible study, the narrative follows all six cabin residents as they learn important lessons about being honest, kind, and comfortable in your own skin. Short chapters told from Julia's viewpoint alternate with her journal entries for Ms. Marcia, showing her progress as she learns to speak up for herself and admit her deepest fears. Vanessa and Meredith also come to terms with other kinds of family drama. Filled with slapstick humor and fast-paced action, the novel will engage reluctant readers, while offering fuel for deep contemplation by those ready to tackle questions of identity and belonging. Give this one to fans of Jeanne Birdsall's "Penderwicks" (Knopf) series, Jennifer L. Holm, and Andrew Clements. VERDICT Highly recommended for middle grade realistic fiction collections.-Laura Simeon, Open Window School Library, WA

    Copyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • School Library Journal "Tween readers will find much to identify with in this charming and refreshingly wholesome coming-of-age story. Set to a soundtrack of 1970s and 1980s disco and pop classics and filled with swimming, campfires, games, and an occasional Bible study, the narrative follows all six cabin residents as they learn important lessons about being honest, kind, and comfortable in your own skin...Filled with slapstick humor and fast-paced action, the novel will engage reluctant readers, while offering fuel for deep contemplation by those ready to tackle questions of identity and belonging."
  • Story Monsters Inc " This book flows, is insightful, and has a spiritual undertone. While I was reading about the adventures of Julia and her sisters, I felt I was there with them. I felt the embarrassment of losing a team sport and the excitement of bonding over marshmallows. I would recommend this
    book to anyone who has ever had a childhood. "

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