Every Shiny Thing

JENSEN, Cordelia & . 368p. Abrams/Amulet. Apr. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781419728648.
Gr 5–9—This dual narrative shifts the point of view between Lauren, in prose, and Sierra, in verse. Sierra has just been placed in foster care in Lauren's rather wealthy neighborhood after her mother was arrested. Lauren is missing her brother, who was recently sent to a special boarding school for kids on the autism spectrum. She is also outgrowing the relationship with her best friend and neighbor, Ashley. Lauren's social conscience has been awakened, and as she realizes that many do not have the resources she has, she decides to make a concerted effort to welcome Sierra. The two form a bond; but when Lauren comes up with a plan for raising money that involves theft, albeit for a good cause, Sierra becomes understandably anxious because she has a lot to lose. This unique story of friendship features two striving yet flawed main characters. Sierra is close to her mom, though she often has to take on the role of parent in their relationship. Lauren's examination of her privilege is admirable. Her Robin Hood scheme is not. The depiction of her growing compulsion to steal/shoplift is absorbing and suspense ratchets up with each theft as the stakes rise. Thoughtful readers will find a lot to like here—sadness, suspense, even humor. They may even pause to consider their own privilege.
VERDICT Great for fans of dual narratives or books like Lynda Mullaly Hunt's One for the Murphys.

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