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Camo Girl Hardcover – January 4, 2011
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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From School Library Journal
Grade 5–8—The lone African American in her Nevada junior high school, sixth-grader Ella struggles with self-image, bullying, and shifting friendships. Tormented by the vitiligo on her face, she shuns mirrors and feels ostracized. Her one true friend is Zachariah (Z), a homeless loner classmate whose imaginative fantasies mask his troubled emotional state. When Bailey James, also African American, enrolls in her school and befriends Ella, her world begins to change. Ella is drawn to Bailey's popularity and friendship but doesn't want to lose Z. When he disappears, Ella and Bailey secretly hop a bus to Las Vegas to find him. Along the way, Ella discovers that Bailey has secrets and fears of his own. The three children have maternal support and love but miss their fathers. Ella's died young; Z's, a gambler, abandoned his family; and Bailey's soldier father is in treatment for PTSD. Ella's coming-of-age narrative reveals her growing awareness of the complexities of life and the burdens each person carries. Magoon writes with insight, wit, and compassion. Characters are appealing; action is well paced; and adolescent angst is palpable. Although Ella's skin condition and Z's psychological problems are not clearly defined, the trauma of both is conveyed. Ella is caught between a desire to hang out with Bailey and the popular crowd or remain loyal to eccentric Z, and her actions, musings, and guilt will resonate with readers.—Gerry Larson, Durham School of the Arts, NC
(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Ella, Zachary, and Bailey are learning to live without their fathers. Ella keeps her head down at school as she mourns, partly to hide her uneven skin tone and partly to avoid connecting with anyone other than Z, her fragile best friend. When Bailey moves into town, Ella doesn�t just find another black kid in an otherwise white town; she gets taken by this outgoing, popular boy who wants to spend time with her, even as he hides his veteran father�s PTSD. Left essentially homeless by his father�s abandonment, Z copes by living in an imaginary world, and when Ella begins spending less time with him and more time with Bailey, he runs away. Ella and Bailey race to find him, and through the experience, Ella begins to understand that what she sees in the mirror is only one aspect of who she is. This novel, by the author of The Rock and the River (2009), is a sensitive, quietly powerful look at discovering inner strength, coping, and thriving�or not�in the face of tragedy. Grades 4-6. --Heather Booth
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This story deals so eloquently with subjects such as autism, race and bullying in such a way that the author never has to put a label on any of it. It entertains and teaches about what it means to be a good person, and a true friend.
And it also lets our girls know that we are all beautiful in our own ways - so important for todays young girls.
When a new student, Bailey arrives at school, Ella feels a spark of hope. Bailey joins Ella as the only other African American student at their school, but he is also, confident and kind. Ella soon finds out that she and Bailey have more in common than being the only African American students at their school. Ella, Bailey and even Zechariah have all lost their fathers in very different, but equally life-altering ways.
Camo Girl is a heart-wrenching, heart-warming story about loss, friendship, growing up and finding hope. The vocabulary, themes and characters are rich and work well for instruction or pleasure reading.
Bailey James is used to being the new kid at school because his family moves around a lot. He's accepted by the popular crowd with no problem, but he's nothing like the ones who bully Z and Ella. He likes Ella and wants to be her friend, but that might be difficult, seeing that Z has claimed her as his own.
Ella's friend, Z, spent most of his time in a fantasy world, using his imagination to escape reality and this made him look strange in the eyes of everyone else at school. I liked that he had a great imagination; actually, a gift is what I'd call it. And it's okay to pretend, but escaping reality all together, that has to be a sign that a serious problem needs to be addressed. I was scared for Z sometimes, expecting someone to do more than throw food on him. Ella quickly came to his rescue when others bullied him and she joined him in his fantasy world because that was what he needed from her. She'd answer to milady and pretend to ride a horse because she truly cared about Z. And even when she was frustrated by the way he'd withdraw into his imaginary world when it was important to her that he deals with reality, she couldn't stay angry at him for long. Ella knew what it meant to be a true friend to Z, and I loved that. It's a shame, though, that it took a big scare before his issues were taken seriously.
Ella was the only black student in the school before Bailey came along, but I don't think that's the reason she was bullied (not that anything justifies such cruel behavior). And I don't think it was only because she was Z's friend. I think the discoloration of her skin was what made her a target, because that was what really made her appear different to other students. Her face was described as dark brown in some places and light brown in others. I figured this discoloration made her feel bad the way a case of acne would affect a teenage girl's self-esteem, but after reading chapter four, I could see that it was much more serious than that for Ella. She was so disgusted by her face that she could barely look in the mirror, and I hurt for her. I'm not sure she would have wanted to leave the house if it wasn't for her mother and her Grammie. She received lots of hugs and encouraging words from these two strong, hardworking women. She knew she was loved unconditionally and that was beautiful.
Bailey was a likable guy. He was there for Ella the way she was there for Z. Even though he was the popular basketball player, he was dealing with his own issues and in the end it turned out that all three - two unpopular, one popular -had more in common than they thought.
Camo Girl is a well-written story with short chapters and clever sentences. There are parts that saddened me and parts that made me smile. It is entertaining and insightful.
Although I have not read it myself, but, decided to write this review based on the fact that last night she said "I am in the middle of reading a really good book mom" and when I asked what it was, it was this book, yay!!! As a mom I am always happy to hear that my daughter is reading a really good book (in her opinion)!
It's a good one to read to 5th through 8th grade and discuss in class what lessons come from it.
Most recent customer reviews
I mean really this book is for you enjoy it !