Despite the problems I had with this book, I wound up really enjoying it because I cared about the characters.
I had an issue from the start with the time jumps that started in chapter one. As the story moved on, I became more used to this and didn’t pull me out as much. However, at times, I had to turn back to the chapter beginning to reorient myself.
The exposition that started on page 7 that gave history about the place went on a little long for my taste and pulled me out of the story.
The section labeled Jodie (page 12—“They had endured Pa’s red-faced rages, which started as shouts, then escalated into fist-slugs, or backhanded punches”) described Pa’s outbursts, but I wanted to read this as a scene on the page.
Even though I was bothered by the head-hopping throughout the book, the vivid setting descriptions and characterizations made up for it. That moment when Kya spelled dog at school—ouch. I felt her pain.
Was anyone else confused about Kya’s race at first? Page 6 says, “He had her same dark eyes and black hair,” but later it says she was at the white school, which confused me. I wondered if the author was confusing on purpose.
Some of the repeated information could be revised to avoid repetition. Revealing information only during the trial, such as about the bus schedules, would have made it a bigger surprise.
I love the symbolism behind the mentions of nature, especially about grass: “People rarely noticed grasses except to mow, trample, or poison them” (page 351).
And even though I love poetry, the poems themselves pulled me out of the story. I think if they had been formatted as the characters speaking the lines, they would have kept me better engaged. I loved the surprise, though, about Kya being Amanda Hamilton.