Finding My Place [NOOK Book]

Overview


DOES FITTING IN HAVE TO MEAN SELLING OUT? In October 1975, while most teens are worried about their Happy Days Halloween costumes,
Tiphanie Jayne Baker has bigger problems. Her parents have just decided to uproot the family to the ritzy suburb of Brent Hills, Colorado, and now she’s the only Black girl at a high school full of Barbies. But the longer Tiphanie stays in ...
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Finding My Place

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Overview


DOES FITTING IN HAVE TO MEAN SELLING OUT? In October 1975, while most teens are worried about their Happy Days Halloween costumes,
Tiphanie Jayne Baker has bigger problems. Her parents have just decided to uproot the family to the ritzy suburb of Brent Hills, Colorado, and now she’s the only Black girl at a high school full of Barbies. But the longer Tiphanie stays in her new neighborhood, the more her ties to her old community start to fray. Now that nowhere feels like home, exactly where does she belong?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fourteen-year-old Tiphanie Baker's parents, former civil rights activists, are "big on doing their part to uplift the race" and firmly expect Tiphanie to do the same. In the fall of 1975, she leaves her comfortable neighborhood and moves to a nearly all-white school in Denver's suburbs, where she "never felt so Black--and so friendless--in my entire life." While her parents revel in their prestigious new jobs, Tiphanie becomes an object of curiosity and animosity at school, until another outcast, Jackie Sue (self-described "walking talking trailer trash") befriends her. The tension of the story comes from a bigoted and threatening classmate who preys on both girls and the growing mountain of secrets that Jackie Sue seems to be keeping about her alcoholic, depressed mother. Jones (Standing Against the Wind) does well to keep the story focused on Jackie Sue and Tiphanie's complicated friendship, while subtly showcasing the equally complex intersections of race and class. It's a straightforward, welltold story with characters that ring true, and the bittersweet ending will remind readers that friendships sometimes come at a cost. Ages 12-up. (June)
From the Publisher
“A well-told story that will hold readers.” —Kirkus Reviews

“The story, with its accurate portrayal of the period and realistic depictions of friendships and family issues, is interesting and enjoyable. The well-developed characters confront their own stereotypes and perceptions of race, learning something about one another and about themselves.” —School Library Journal

"A straightforward, welltold story with characters that ring true, and the bittersweet ending will remind readers that friendships sometimes come at a cost." —Publishers Weekly

Elizabeth Self
It is 1975 in the suburbs outside of Denver, Colorado. Tiphanie Jayne Baker is new, in the ninth grade, and the only Black girl at her high school. She has learned from her parents, members of the civil rights movement, how to carry herself above the fray and outperform her peers in order to represent her race. But it's hard for her in the face of glaring eyes and some outspoken bigots in the hallways, especially when her friends from her old school accuse her of becoming "whitewashed" by her new surroundings. When she finally meets Jackie Sue, Tiphanie knows she's found a real friend, and one with an unbelievable vocabulary. But she quickly learns that being Black in a White community is not the only thing that keeps you outside the inner circle in ritzy Brent Hills. Reviewer: Elizabeth Self
VOYA - Chris Carlson
Tiphanie's family decides to move from a black neighborhood to an affluent suburb of Denver, where the freshman finds herself one of only two black students at the school. She endures being largely ignored by the other students and suffers through various racial slurs until Jackie Sue, a "free spirit" who dresses like a hippy and comes from the poor area of the district, befriends her. Tiphanie learns that Jackie Sue is being raised by an abusive, alcoholic mother and being bullied by another classmate, the son of the man who owns the trailer park where Jackie Sue lives. As Tiphanie begins to find a place in her new surroundings, Jackie Sue's home life deteriorates, testing their friendship. It is unclear why the author chose to set the story in 1975, unless to place Tiphanie's experience within the civil rights movement in a recent context, for it is transferable to the present day. Although filled with stereotypes, Tiphanie's struggle to find her place in white society while staying rooted in black culture rings true. Teens who feel somewhat alienated because they are "different" should be able to empathize with both Tiphanie and Jackie Sue. The author explores the limits of friendship and seems to admit to the effects of environment on behavior and success. This book fills a niche in young adult literature for which there is definite need: the experience of middle-class blacks in American society. Reviewer: Chris Carlson
Children's Literature - Jeanne K. Pettenati J.D.
How will Tiphanie ("Tiffany") Jayne Baker fit in? She is about to start high school when her parents decide to move from their racially diverse Denver neighborhood to an upscale suburb where she is one of only two black students in her new school. Her parents have fought hard for equal rights and they expect Tiphanie to be the absolute best in everything—because racists will be watching and judging her harshly. Tiphanie does not want to be a trailblazer. She wants friends, maybe a boyfriend, good grades and an active social life, just like most teenagers. Tiphanie encounters some outright hostility, but overall she is mostly ignored. Then Jackie Sue Webster, a blond hippie, sits next to her at lunch. Their friendship is unusual, but it sustains Tiphanie during those first few tough months at school. Slowly, she makes inroads with the other kids and finds that there are good people and bad people of all races. This book provides a valuable perspective on the fallout from the school desegregation movement of the 1970s. The characters are realistic and the text is well-written. Reviewer: Jeanne K. Pettenati, J.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 5–9—Tiphanie Baker respects her parents' participation in the 1960s Civil Rights Movement and lives up to their expectations, which include always "uplifting her race" by working extra hard and by following the rules. But when she finds out that she must start her freshman year as the only black girl at an affluent, predominantly white school, she wonders if she has the strength. Set in Denver in 1975, the book portrays the mood and perceptions of the time. People of differing ethnicities and races are still becoming accustomed to living, working, and going to school together, as demonstrated by the awkwardness and uncertainty with which Tiphanie and her fellow students regard each other. The issues of class and racial identity are exacerbated when Tiphanie, who is working through her own feelings of isolation and uncertainty, befriends a white girl who is ostracized because she is poor and lives in a trailer park. As the protagonist starts to feel more comfortable and accepted by her classmates, she struggles with the idea that by liking them she is not being true to her former friends, who begin to question her commitment. The story, with its accurate portrayal of the period and realistic depictions of friendships and family issues, is interesting and enjoyable. The well-developed characters confront their own stereotypes and perceptions of race, learning something about one another and about themselves.—Margaret Auguste, Franklin Middle School, Somerset, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
Tiphanie Baker is beginning high school as the only black female student at Denver's Brent Hills High. It is 1975, and her civil-rights-minded parents see this as an upward step, while Tiphanie's concerns are normal teen worries. School comes easy enough on the surface, but even math gets a racial subtext. Nothing is clear cut. "I was beginning to wonder if my classmates really were racist, or if possibly they were just rude." She is relieved when Jackie Sue, another outsider, strikes up a friendship. However, attempts to deepen their friendship expose that girl's difficult home life. This is an intriguing look at coping in the post-civil-rights era while exploring issues all teens face. Jones is successful in her depiction of Tiphanie and her parents, who are concerned but see life differently. Jackie Sue, with her love of words and fierce personality, is an engaging character. The novel is less successful with others, such as the racist bully, Clay, and Jackie Sue's Alabama-born, former-beauty-queen mother, who border on stereotypes. Still, a well-told story that will hold readers. (Historical fiction. 12 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429939980
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 5/25/2010
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 1,124,752
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • File size: 297 KB

Meet the Author


TRACI L. JONES was awarded the Coretta Scott King / John Steptoe New Talent Award for her first novel, STANDING AGAINST THE WIND. She lives in Denver, Colorado.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2013

    Drizzlekit

    C-come home then!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2013

    Swirlkit

    Just come back. Id theu still think u forced me, hav them come to me

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2013

    Swirlkit

    Pads in. ~Swirlkit

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2013

    Furyclaw

    "I hope so..."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2013

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2012

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2012

    Miya's Story

    My mom abandoned me on the streets when I was only a baby. It was after my dad had been sent to prison fo murdering my youngest sister. I had pneumonia when somebody finally found me about a day later. From that, as I'm told, I almost died, and I was sent to a foster home after I had gotten over the mono that had come from the pneumonia, which was three years later. At first, my foster parents were nice. Their names were Mary and David, and when I turned twelve, they apparently got tired of me, and the agency I was registered in wouldn't take me back until I was fourteen. So that summer, they fed me less, and locked me in my room whenever I wasn't home. It hadn't occured to me that they were slowly starving me to death. So when I didn't die, they locked me in the basement, in the dead of summer. For two weeks, I ate scattered wood and dirty water that leaked from a broken pipe. The police got a call from my neighbors, who had miraculously heard me screaming to let me out. That's when my mom came back. She took me to her home in Arizona.... but that was only the beginning. A girl named Calista hated me becase of who I was, and how "pretty" I was, which I didn't believe at the time. Everyone else at my school did, and pretty soon, I was being stalked by high schoolers and other guys alike. First, I was only in eighth grade. So.... Calista paid a whole bunch of seniors, and promised them that she could get me out of the house. So while I was walking home, eight guys pushed me into an alleyway. But, I had been paranoid, and carried a small handgun in my shoe. I took two of them out, injured three more with a peice of wood, but the three others knocked me out and put ductape over my mouth. I was missing for three days. Calista got off scot free. But one of the injured guys, another David, inronically, still had it going for me. Let's just say, they learned how to subdue me seven other times. It's a wonder Im not pregnant. So.... I was thirteen, and I was walking through Calista's "territory" with Thomas, Austin, and one of my cousins. Calista had started a "gang", because the first time she tried to ruin me, I killed her brother out of self defense. First, she killed my cousin; I didn't know she had been carrying her dad's pistol. She was going for Thomas, and I remember, I saw David laughing at me as I tried to keep her from killing Thomas. So instead.... she shot me, and I told Thomas and Austin to run. After that, I remember nothing. So, Calista was sent to Juvy, but then David was out for blood. He cornered me in my own house, and I got locked in the basement, AGAIN. He and his buddies came in one at a time.... but.... Thalia and Greg saw them when they were walking up the street and called the cops..... honestly.... I don't remember much.... other than getting my Nook and starting rp when I met Calista.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2012

    Batu

    I hate myself.... **looks down ashamed**

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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