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A Song for Bijou Hardcover – February 12, 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Alex Schrader is not the coolest kid in seventh grade. Bijou Doucet has moved to Brooklyn after the terrible earthquakes in Haiti. When Alex meets Bijou, his life begins to change. Bijou has already had a big shift in her life, and, instead of changing herself to be more like her American friends, she shares her music and traditions with them. Soon the kids want to spend more time together, but Bijou’s stricter culture makes things tough. Farrar uses Alex’s ignorance of the earthquake and life in Haiti to enlighten readers about the tragedy and its continuing effects on the Haitian people. He skillfully intertwines current events and multiculturalism in a story that could easily have been primarily about friendship and first love. Consequently, readers will be as drawn to the relevant content as they are to the delightful characters. Grades 4-7. --Bethany Fort

Review

“[A] sweet story about friendship and self-discovery. . . . The portrayal of middle school is spot-on” ―VOYA on A Song for Bijou

“Well crafted . . . the alternating points of view between Bijou and Alex keep it interesting.” ―School Library Journal on A Song for Bijou

“Modern, relevant, and highly enjoyable.” ―Library Media Connection on A Song for Bijou

“Rock prevails in this spirited, never-say-die story about a girl and her dream. Farrar's first novel hits home about tween life, especially among the creative set, and for anyone who has ever been bullied.” ―School Library Journal on Rules to Rock By

“The teens' voices are funny and distinct. . . . Middle-school rockers will enjoy the show.” ―Kirkus Reviews on Rules to Rock By

“A rock 'n' roll version of Revenge of the Nerds for middle-graders. It not only provides great advice for those interested in the music industry but also for those dealing with the pressures of pre-teen life.” ―Curledupkids.com on Rules to Rock By

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 8
  • Lexile Measure: 750L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Walker Childrens (February 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802733948
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802733948
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #130,139 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
What attracted me to what can only be described as a middle grade romance? Was it the adorable cover, the "adorkable" main characters, the title, which includes the singular of my favorite French word, or the spicy hints of conflict? It was all of the above, plus a soupçon of culture and compassion, all rolled together in a little American-Haitian story of first love.

I'm very hard on love stories; I feel like in YA lit they tend to be too cinematic, too much of what a particular author wishes happened to them, instead of what most often happens. Full of zingy one-liners and intelligent patter, they keep readers on the sideline to watch the performance of love. This novel allows readers to participate a bit more - because there are missteps and obvious Bad Guys, and the winces and cringes as the main narrator, Alex, runs into walls, and the flinches as secondary narrator, Bijou, misunderstands things, are very real...

Alex Schrader just noticed girls five minutes ago, and he's Mr. Obsession. Last year it was Angela. This year it's ... Bijou. Bijou Doucet... She has an amazing name, she has an amazing face, she has little butterfly beads on the ends of her braids....

Alex is smitten, in the cute, dizzy way that isn't often ascribed to boys in literature. He's just a mess, and she's slightly horrified... and not just because Alex is horribly shy and barely able to look her in the face. Refreshingly, it's not even because he's a Caucasian American and she's Haitian, and completely clueless about the country or the culture. It's because He's A Boy. And she, Bijou Doucet, does. not. want. a boyfriend.

Why is that boy staring at her? Why is he always red? Bijou, dear readers, is Not Impressed.

Yet.
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Format: Hardcover
First, I would like to mention that this is definitely for the upper middle grade set. Much of the book focuses on Alex, a seventh grader, and the huge crush he has a new girl, Bijou. Some of the emotions might be a bit much for 8-10 year-olds to understand.

This is definitely a unique concept and plot that I don't think I have read lately in a middle grade. Showing first love and how that grows and evolves, especially in the light of a multi-cultural relationship, makes for an interesting, fun read. I enjoyed seeing the characters grow, especially as they learn how to deal with those who aren't as open to other cultures and ideas. I think both boys and girls would like this book.
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Format: Hardcover
I can’t tell you how sick I am of boy-crazy girls in literature, even though I do my best to steer clear of books that fit that description. Why can’t anyone write about a girl-crazy boy? Well, “A Song for Bijou” is just that: a book about a girl-crazy boy. But Alex is really only crazy for one girl, and that’s Bijou Doucet, who came to New York City from Haiti after the earthquake. Alex really wants to get to know Bijou better, but that’s hard when a) she goes to the all-girls school next to his all-boys school and b) in Bijou’s culture, boys are not friends with girls. Not ever. But Alex and Bijou are smart kids. They’ll figure something out.

I hate to call this book “adorable,” mainly because the word is used for everything nowadays, but that’s what “A Song for Bijou” is. Adorable. Alex feels like a real seventh-grader, but he’s also a nice kid most of the time. He’s the kind of seventh grade boy I wish I remembered from my middle school years. His friends – and Bijou’s – also feel like real middle-schoolers, with all the endearing annoyance that comes with that. And Bjiou herself is great: she’s a strong main girl, but it’s a quiet strength. Her strength is in managing to keep going, even though she’s in a new land, even though people tease her. She also isn’t your typical poor-little-starving-orphan-girl, which I appreciate.

I’d also like to address a little thing that often stops experienced readers in their tracks: the switching POV. This book goes back and forth several times between Alex and Bijou. Many have groaned about POV switcher stories, “I can’t tell the difference! They talk about the same things twice! They’re annoying!” I’m happy to say that this is one of the better-done POV switchers I’ve seen in a long time.
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Format: Hardcover
First of all, I have to say if it hadn't been for the #WEneeddiversebooks hashtag, I would have never found about this adorable book. One of the whole points about the #Weneeddiversebooks hashtag was so that people like me could be introduced to more books that feature diverse characters beyond the "default". So wonderful authors like My fave author Ellen Oh and some new favorites like Lamar Giles, made the visibility of this type of awareness possible.

Where do I begin? First off, it's not really second nature for me to pick up Middle Grade books. I'm always afraid that the protagonists aren't written intelligent enough for kids to learn something, or better yet for me to learn something.Luckily, This wasn't one of those books.

The story revolves around two seventh graders, Alex and Bijou. Alex is born and bred in Brooklyn, NY, whereas Bijou is from Haiti. I guess you can say this book is one of those first love books because the story centers on the friendship between two kids who can grow to be something more.

The POV switched from both characters, which I loved!!!!I loved hearing from both Bijou and Alex. I was worried it would only be from the boys POV. But seeing as though I've read very few POV's from boys so far, Alex might just be my favorite.The author choose to spend the first 50 pages introducing Alex and the next 50 introducing Bijou. After that it alternates depending on the situation. But I loved how Bijou and Alex's POV's weren't dumbed down for who this book is marketed at, for readers between the ages of 8-12. Sometimes I even forgot that i was reading from the POV of 2 12 year olds.

I really loved that this wasn't a "race"book. Alex loved him some Bijou.
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