Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for the review copy of this book – all opinions are my own.
One True Way by Shannon Hitchcock
(February 27th 2018 ~ Scholastic)
One True Way is a middle grade novel set in 1977 about being true to yourself. Allie is a seventh grader trying to deal with her feelings for another girl, moving to a new place, and getting used to her parent’s separation. Allie recently moved to North Carolina from New Jersey after her brother died in a car accident and her parents decided to live separately. Allie and her mother find comfort in their new town through church and building friendships. Allie also finds some sense of normalcy again when she meets Sam, an all-star athlete and friend to everyone. Allie and Sam start to have complicated feelings for each other knowing that their parents and peers won’t understand. One True Way is a middle school romance about finding the courage to be yourself.
This book prominently featured Allie’s relationship to her religion. Both Allie and her mother seek guidance from the local Methodist minister, Pastor Walker. Allie struggles with her feelings for Sam because she isn’t sure how having feelings for another girl fits into her spirituality and Christian religion. Sam’s mother, who found out Sam had feelings for another girl in the past, has made it very clear that she thinks homosexuality is a sin. But what does Allie’s fairly liberal mother think? Throughout the book, Allie tries to confront her feelings, her religion’s teachings on homosexuality, and her mother’s perspective. This book carefully and sensitively includes Christianity in a thoughtful discussion on identity. It provides a mirror for gay Christian kids who feel hurt by being left out and, sometimes, shunned by their religion. Allie finds so much love from her church and her family. The book also positively features counseling, both religious and secular, as a tool for mental health.
This is an excellent addition to middle school collections.
And don’t miss the author’s post on Nerdy Book Club about her reasons for writing this book……
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