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Between Us Baxters

Between Us Baxters

4.8 5
by Bethany Hegedus

Editorial Reviews

Catherine McTamaney
Twelve-year-old Polly's life is changing as quickly as the world around her. Set in the rural south at the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement, this novel juxtaposes a community torn apart by racism against the struggle of one girl to protect her family and preserve her friendships. One part coming-of-age story, one part social commentary, the novel details Polly's struggle to make sense of all sorts of changes, from the uncertainty of her own body to the chaos of her larger society. Violence in this small town exposes family secrets, forcing Polly to decide for herself what she believes. An authentic description of race relations in the 1950s, this novel places larger social issues of desegregation within the lives of two families. Reviewer: Catherine McTamaney
VOYA - Karen Jensen
Living in 1959, twelve-year-old Polly finds herself struggling against her family and the racism of the day during hard economic times in Holcom County, Georgia, which is still segregated by race. When her alcoholic father loses his job and her wealthy grandmother dies, her mother takes a job as a caregiver for a local judge and arranges for her black friend, Henrietta, to get a job as their housekeeper. Polly is secretly best friends with Timbre Ann, Henrietta's niece—but their friendship is difficult given the racial tension. As stores owned by blacks are burned and racial violence increases, Polly begins to suspect that her father is somehow involved. The tension—between the races, between the family members and ultimately between two friends—is palpable and builds to a suspenseful crescendo. In the end, a tragic accident tests the bonds of Polly and Timbre Ann's friendship. The depiction of the historical times is realistic and gut wrenching, including the use of racial slurs. Readers will be drawn into the many characters in this story of friendship under challenging circumstances. Recommend it to readers looking for historical fiction, discussions of racial discrimination, family, and friendship. Reviewer: Karen Jensen
School Library Journal

Gr 5-9

In 1959, in Holcolm County, GA, there is a palpable tension. Times are slowly changing, causing resentment among some folks and optimism among others. The volatile mix sets the tone for this story of family, friendship, and racial discrimination. Jim Crow is the law of the South, separating the races, but it cannot dictate human emotions, creating the pivotal struggle of the novel. Twelve-year-old Polly Baxter, daughter of a poor white couple, and 14-year-old Timbre Ann, child of a black business owner, share the most improbable thing in this environment-a friendship. When suspicious fires, vandalism, and threats to successful black business owners cause fear and distrust among the townspeople, the strength of Polly and Timbre Ann's bond is tested. It is further jeopardized after a tragic incident threatens to separate them forever. The connection between the two girls and their families is beautifully described and believable, and the richness of the characters is apparent. The pacing of the story is deliberate and suspenseful with twists and turns that add to the bittersweet conclusion.-Margaret Auguste, Franklin Middle School, Somerset, NJ

Product Details

Westside Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.20(d)
610L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 14 Years

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Between Us Baxters 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
JLunievicz More than 1 year ago
Between Us Baxters is a diamond waiting for readers to find. It is a tale of familial and cultural relationships brought to the breaking point in 1959 Georgia. The settings are the white side of town and the Tracks, the black side of town. The conflict builds in intensity from the first page to the last. This is the kind of book that I couldn't wait to get on the subway to read (that's my longest stretch of reading time - as a straphanger) and actually stayed on the platform for when I got off at my work stop so that I could finish it. The narrator, Polly is a like-able and struggling girl who as a protagonist was easy to root for and feel for. I especially liked that the mother and father were complex characters in their own right, neither one falling into stereotype, acting in surprising ways that became apparent as appropriate for them in hindsight. So many times the parents in YA fiction are simply cut and predictable but Ms. Hegedus has created wonderful characters that struggle in the gray area of right action, safe action, best action for yourself, and best action for people you love. The feeling for the period of the book is perfectly evoked through dialog, simple details (black and white TV, three in the seat of a truck without seat belts), and Jim Crow Laws (who can sit in the back of the bus and who can sit in the front). A scene of Polly riding on a bus with her mother and having to watch a black woman with a crying baby leave the bus, knowing they'll have to walk the rest of the way because they don't have enough money to pay double fare, is heartbreaking. The issues of race and class are well delineated and provide the constraints from which all the players act out their dramas. The ending is wrenching and not neat, but that is as it should be. The marketing for this book says it's for 5th - 9th grade and I can see this would be a terrific read for that age group - challenging them with its ideas and putting them (the reader) in the position of asking him/herself what they would do in Polly's situation? But don't let the marketers stop you if you're an older kid or adult from picking this diamond up and examining it page by page yourself. You'll find it well worth the time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jennmarie68 More than 1 year ago
This story is not only about the friendship of a young white girl and young black girl growing up in the south in 1959, but it's about family (not just by blood) and deals with the injustice that is racism. As Penny realizes that the friendship with her best friend Timbre Ann may be ending she also has to deal with the issues of her family, which her parents had tried to always hide from her in the past. She also has to come to some harsh social realizations. This book was so touching. I felt everything Penny was going through. While I'm not naive enough to believe that racism doesn't exist anymore, I'm glad our country has made the progress that it has. I can't even begin to imagine what living in the south as an African American must have been like when this book took place. I think that Bethany Hegedus did a great job with this story, keeping it accurate from a 12-year-old's point of view. This story is touching, heartfelt, compassionate and emotional.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago