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Standing Against the Wind

Standing Against the Wind

4.7 22
by Traci L. Jones

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Patrice Williams was happy living in Georgia with her grandmother, then her mother lured her to Chicago and ended up in jail. Living in the projects, Patrice is an easy target for everyone. Not only won't she stand up for herself, she cares about her grades—unlike her classmates. But that draws the attention of Monty Freeman, another eighth grader who asks


Patrice Williams was happy living in Georgia with her grandmother, then her mother lured her to Chicago and ended up in jail. Living in the projects, Patrice is an easy target for everyone. Not only won't she stand up for herself, she cares about her grades—unlike her classmates. But that draws the attention of Monty Freeman, another eighth grader who asks Patrice to tutor his little brother. When Monty becomes her guardian angel, Patrice begins to think something stronger than friendship might be growing between them. Still, nothing will stop her from applying for a scholarship at prestigious Dogwood Academy—except her mother.

Standing Against the Wind is a 2007 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year and the winner of the 2007 Coretta Scott King - John Steptoe New Talent Award.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“The gripping story of a contemporary kid who wants to make her dreams come true.” —Booklist

“Patrice is a true hero, a child who has the inner strength to overcome roadblocks to success. Moving and thought-provoking.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Stories of hope, loyalty, and success such as this one are valuable.” —School Library Journal

“Patrice and Monty emerge as likable kids; readers can plug into their story at multiple levels.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“This excellent first novel is quite memorable, and readers will be drawn into Patrice's quiet but determined quest for a more promising future. A highly recommended purchase for libraries serving middle and high school students.” —Voice of Youth Advocates

VOYA - Sherrie Williams
Patrice has lived happily in Georgia with her grandmother until her long-absent mother shows up, convincing her to move to inner-city Chicago. Within months, Patrice's mother is sentenced to several years in prison, and Patrice is forced to relocate with an aunt in Chicago. The eighth grader excels in school, but she is shy and quiet and faces constant teasing and threats from a group of boys in her neighborhood. The leader of the group, Monty, protects her from the other boys and convinces Patrice to tutor his first grade brother. The principal of her school encourages Patrice to apply for a scholarship to a prestigious African American boarding school down South, and Monty and Patrice see hope for her beyond the dangerous streets of Chicago. This excellent first novel is quite memorable, and readers will be drawn into Patrice's quiet but determined quest for a more promising future. The book is reminiscent of Janet McDonald's work and will likely appeal to her fans. Although Monty may at times seem "too good to be true," the perseverance that he and Patrice display is inspiring and the other characters and dialogue ring true. This book is quick moving and engaging and is recommended for reluctant readers. It is a highly recommended purchase for libraries serving middle school and high school students, and this reviewer would not be surprised to see it chosen as an award winner or honor book.
Children's Literature - Denise Daley
Living in the big city of Chicago is frightening for thirteen-year-old Patrice. Patrice recently had to move in with her Aunt. She wishes that people would just leave her alone. Unfortunately, gangs of young boys seldom ignore single girls, especially single girls with a noticeably huge mop of wild, uncontrollable hair. Patrice is offered a glimpse of relief from the constant teasing when a boy named Monty becomes her friend. Patrice also gains a glimmer of hope when the school principal suggests that she apply for a scholarship to a renowned African American boarding school. Completing the scholarship paperwork is a challenge for Patrice, especially since her mother, who needs to sign the papers, is in jail. Patrice finds support in an unexpected source. Monty is one of the few people who can see through Patrice's mass of hair and has faith in the person he sees underneath. In spite of the difficult and sometimes upsetting obstacles that confront Patrice, this well-written book is full of warmth, emotion, and hope.
School Library Journal
Gr 7-9-A housing project, an incarcerated parent, and other elements of inner-city life form the backdrop for this story about eighth-grader Patrice. She has been uprooted from Georgia and the beloved grandmother who raised her, and is struggling to accept her difficult life, handle the bitter Chicago winter, and stay ahead of the group of boys who taunt her when her principal asks her to apply for a scholarship to a prestigious African-American boarding school in Mississippi. Stories of hope, loyalty, and success such as this one are valuable for letting all kids see themselves in books and for fighting the endless stereotypes that surround them. It's unfortunate that the writing isn't more even and polished, rather than utilitarian with a tendency to tell, not show. Despite this, girls will appreciate the strength that underlies Patrice's quiet and unassuming exterior and will cheer for her and for Monty, the cool guy who is inspired by her willingness to be different. Decent characterization, together with a worthwhile topic, makes this a title to consider.-Faith Brautigam, Gail Borden Public Library, Elgin, IL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Patrice's rarely seen mother is in jail, and shy, studious Patrice lives with her aunt in a crowded apartment in the Chicago projects. Each day she must run the gauntlet of taunts and threats, as she negotiates the halls of her middle school and the long cold blocks between school and home. When Monty becomes her friend and protector, she is able to concentrate on applying for a scholarship to a prestigious African-American boarding school. It takes courage, ingenuity and help from Monty to get to the prison and to convince her uncaring mother to sign the application. Along the way, Monty, impressed by Patrice's steadfastness, raises his own grades and goals. Jones vividly and painfully portrays the deadening effects of poverty, hopelessness and dysfunctional and ever-changing family relationships. She chooses credible language for each character without creating caricatures. Patrice is a true hero, a child who has the inner strength to overcome roadblocks to success. Moving and thought-provoking. (Fiction. 12-14)

Product Details

Square Fish
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
12 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Standing Against the Wind

By Jones, Traci L.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Copyright © 2006 Jones, Traci L.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0374371741

From Standing Against the Wind
Most days, Patrice Williams really didn't know which she liked least: walking home or actually getting there.
"Just two more blocks," she whispered to herself as she stood waiting for the light.
During the bitterly cold days of winter, the thirteen-year-old had gotten into the habit of counting the blocks until she was safe at home--safe from the freezing cold wind, safe from the nasty comments made by girls who had cut school and were always hanging out in front of the local drugstore, safe from the gang of boys who had all but quit school and who hung out in the broken-down playground in front of her building. They all seemed to have something mean to say about her.
"One more block."
Patrice's quick steps slowed as she noticed the gang of boys from her middle school gathered at the foot of the stairs in front of her building. She had hoped that Chicago's frigid cold would have driven them inside. But even in this weather they were assembled at the only unlocked entrance, attempting to make everyone else's life miserable. They were talking and laughing, looking like teen dragons as the puffs of warm air from their mouths mixed with the clouds of cigarette smoke they blewnonchalantly. Those not smoking blew on their hands and rocked back and forth on their feet, trying to keep warm and look cool at the same time.
The January wind blew directly into Patrice's face. It seemed to reach right through her coat's thin fabric and under her hand-me-down sweatshirt, and pinch her arms with icy, sharp fingers. With the straps of her old backpack long since broken, Patrice's hand felt frozen in a tight fist around its tattered handle. She shivered again, this time more from nervous anticipation than cold.


Excerpted from Standing Against the Wind by Jones, Traci L. Copyright © 2006 by Jones, Traci L.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

TRACI L. JONES's first novel, Standing Against the Wind, was met with critical acclaim and was named to five state reading lists. Her next book, Finding My Place, will be available from Farrar, Straus and Giroux in Summer 2010. She lives with her husband and children in Denver, Colorado.

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Standing Against the Wind 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i read this whole book in one night! i just couldnt stop. it was such an amazing book. the main character is usually nice and quiet but when she becomes closer to 'cool kid' Monty more people start to talk to her, she doesnt really lk the attention, but she really lkes monty. At the end of the book monty does something you would never exspect. this book was truley amazing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kierra Johnson A Great Book For Teens! Standing Against The Wind By Traci Jones Star rating: 5 Standing Against The Wind by Traci jones is a very good book for tens now days. They can relate to to Patrice Williams. She is a teenager whom mom gives her up and leaves her with her grandmother. This is very common for most teens now days. Her grandmother gives her name wich is CoCo. Her grandmother has died so now she is living with her Auntie Mae. She finds out that her mother is in Chicago. She is a very smart student who does not mine helping other or working hard for want she wants .she gets a scholarship to a college . she moves to a new ghetto neighborhood . her new nickname is now PUFFY .because of her giant poof on her hair . But Patrice's hair isn't the only reason she sticks out she cares about her grades and strives for the best. That's why Monty Freeman, another eighth grader who lives in the building, asks Patrice to tutor his little brother. Even though Monty's friends make Patrice uneasy, Monty himself is friendly, confident, and surprisingly smart.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My 12 year daughter and I read this book together and truly enjoyed it. A powerful story about beating the odds and staying true to yourself inspite of hardships. Beautifully written, eloquent language. Very uplifting for tweens and teens.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book i read it at school twice and the sample twice
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So sweet and hart warming!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was so inspiring. This book tells you to never give up and to follow your dreams. It also tell you to not let people stop you from somthing you love and want. This book is appropite for pre teen and teens. This book has drama and some romance. It's a great read! I love this book and it's one of the best books I have read. I give it 5 stars!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dont read the reviews just read it........its that good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An amazing book that talks about real issues, the importance of grades and more! I read this whole book in one night, before I knew it I was completely done with it and honestly I want the author (Traci Jones) to continue. An incredible book for teens!! I read this in seventh grade and I continuously checked this book out repeatedly. :) 5 stars for Traci Jones! :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has everything if you are a teenager . The amazing breath taking moments the theme of coming of age , which has a grate influence on this book. I liked it alot and it actually speeks the truth if you are a middle school student like me you will notice that most of the aspects this book aplys are completely true. I have no words to describe how incredible this book is it has been a grate experience reading this amazing novel rate 5/5
Mariah Jones More than 1 year ago
Great Read
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Ktmorden More than 1 year ago
Standing Against the Wind is a well written, inspiring book. Imagine living in a quiet, southern town in Georgia and then being thrown into the gang infested ghetto of Chicago. Patrice, the main character, has to endure just that. She is forced to live with her aunt in Chicago after her mother was sent to prison. Patrice feels guilty about living with her aunt and causing financial difficulties. As a result of this guilt, she does all of the cooking and household chores without any complaints. Patrice is an all "A" student and has difficulties fitting in at King Middle School. Unfortunately, Patrice's hair is unmanageable and vey "puffy". This fact only adds to her difficulties. Despite all of her troubles, Patrice keeps plugging away. She will overcome her trials and triumph. This story is filled with hope and determination. It proves that if you work hard and you don't give up, you will eventually succeed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
i love this book it one of my favorites i cant wait for more to be presented into the world like this one one
Guest More than 1 year ago
Patrice is taken by her mother from her grandmother¿s house to live elsewhere. However, when Patrice¿s mom is sent to jail she ends up living with her Aunt in Chicago. She is constantly doing chores to help out her aunt and taking care of her cousins. Meanwhile at school Patrice is being picked on by her classmates, in particular by a group of boys that hangs out outside her apartment complex. That group includes a certain boy, Monty, who asks Patrice to tutor his brother. Patrice and Monty become close friends. When Patrice has the chance to attend an African American Boarding School she does not know if she can make her dream happen due to the many obstacles in her path, but she finds strength in places she never would have expected. Traci L. Jones has written a wonderful story full of imagery and beautiful metaphors. It is easy to see why she won the Coretta Scott King Award. However, it is somewhat of a Cinderella story due to the fact that Patrice finds a lot of her strength in Monty. While this by no means makes it a bad story, it is something to think about when recommending to younger readers. I would recommend this book for grades 6-8. The story is a little young for high school students. Middle school students will be able to relate to many of the things Patrice goes through at school and at home. I would also recommend reading this book in a group setting rather than alone for younger students, this way you can talk about Patrice¿s relationships and delve a little deeper into the Cinderella story aspect. However, these issues do not detract from the writing and wonderful language of this book. I would definitely recommend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Biography: Traci L. Jones has written ever since she was a child. She loves to write for teens and stated in her biography, 'It is such a hectic, wonderful, turbulent time in life. Full of promise and full of misery. A time to laugh while crying.' Standing Against the Wind is her debut novel and it received the Coretta Scott King Award. She currently lives with her husband and four children in Denver, Colorado. Summary: Patrice had a happy life when she lived in Georgia. She was taken from her home to live with her grandma because her mom was sent to prison. Patrice and her sister are now stuck living with their Auntie Mae. Patrice longs to get away from Chicago where she is teased and frightened by a group of guys who make fun of her wild hair. But, Monty Freeman who is a member of that boys group is different because he is kind towards Patrice. Monty becomes interested in Patrice due to her interest in schoolwork and good grades. While taking care of her cousins one day, Patrice learns of a scholarship for a prestigious African American boarding school in Mississippi. She wants to apply and attempts the challenge of filling out the application and all its parts by herself. Will she get in? You will have to read to find out! Review: Standing Against the Wind is a great, simple story which is easy to understand. I love how the story is from Patrice's point-of-view. It is perfect for junior high students, especially since they can relate to being picked on whether it has been themselves as the target or picking on someone else. The vocabulary throughout the book is not too challenging, yet the dialogue may be hard to follow if students are not aware of that kind of speaking. Overall, it is a great story. I give it two thumbs up!
Guest More than 1 year ago
As an educator I found ¿Standing Against the Wind¿ by Traci L. Jones to be a fresh, sweet, and inspiring story for young teenage girls. Though this story is about a young, 8th grade girl named Patrice living in poverty in Chicago, there are elements of her story that are relatable to most teenage girls. Patrice faces the same issues that most teenage girls face such as not recognizing her outer beauty, lack of self confidence, being intimidated by the so called ¿in crowd,¿ and not knowing what to think of her new found nervous, giddy, butterflies in the stomach, awkward feelings that she has toward Monty the ¿popular¿ boy in school who is kind to her. Though she faces common challenges that most teenage girls face, Patrice also faces almost insurmountable challenges. She has a mother in jail and lives with her aunt who works two to three jobs leaving little time for Patrice. Patrice serves the role as the Aunt¿s live in cook, maid, and baby sits the aunt¿s two children in the afternoons when their mother is at work. Patrice attends a school and lives in a neighborhood where most teenage boys turn to drugs and gangs and where most of the young teenage girls only think about boys. The character of Patrice is a positive role model for the reasons she is interested in school, gets good grades, and shows responsibility beyond her age. With encouragement from her school principal, she applies for a scholarship to an African American Boarding school. She faces many challenges in her pursuit to remove herself from a hopeless environment. With help and care from one unlikely individual, she faces her challenges head on standing against the cold wind of despair and poverty that threaten to quench her hope. This book is one of HOPE. Patrice lives in a very hopeless environment, but she does not let her environment smash her beauty or innocence. The reader will feel Patrice¿s plight and root for Patrice to overcome her obstacles. ¿Standing against the Wind¿ is Traci L. Jones¿s first novel. This is a heartwarming book with a positive, uplifting message. There is no sex, no backstabbing best friends, no drugs or alcohol, and the only profanity word in the entire novel is the word ¿hell¿ said once. Patrice does face an incident where she is verbally harassed by two boys who make sexual innuendos and comments toward her, but the author presents the scene in a way that is not vulgarly detailed and is still appropriate for young girls to read. It is my hope that this author does not stop with this novel, but continues to write novels which depict young girls as positive and enlightening role models. This book would make an excellent addition to a book club list for teenage girls. I have mentioned girls a lot in this review, but I also believe boys might enjoy it as well because of the ¿cool guy¿ named Monty who serves as Patrice¿s young ¿hero¿ in the novel. Monty is inspired by Patrice to take pride in his own leadership skills and intelligence. This is a book that every middle school and high school librarian should add to their school library.