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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a really interesting novel about the struggles within our own New York City schools that goes back and forth between narration in the third person and diary entries (from Dreenie's diary).  The book is all about a girl named Natalie, but she is nicknamed "Bluish" by the other students because of the blue tint to her skin (due to the chemo she receives at the hospital).

Dreenie tells us all about Bluish and their fifth grade class.  Confined to a wheelchair and wearing a knit cap to cover her baldness from the chemo, Bluish catches the eye of Dreenie.  Over the course of the book, the girls become good friends.  Dreenie emotionally learns to deal with Bluish's sickness while Bluish struggles for respect in the class.

There are an interesting couple of subplots in the book as well. The first subplot is about Dreenie and her younger sister (Willie), who Dreenie babysits after school.  The second is about Tuli and her emotional dealings with her two races.  Both Dreenie and Natalie ("Bluish") learn to value each person for their uniqueness.

In conclusion, it's important to note that this young adult novel is meant to introduce pre-teens to many differences they might find in middle school and beyond. As a result of the quality writing of this novel (and others), Hamilton has won the Newberry Medal.

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