The Laura Line

The Laura Line

5.0 1
by Crystal Allen
     
 

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Thirteen-year-old Laura Dyson wants two things in life: to be accepted by her classmates and to be noticed by ultracute baseball star Troy Bailey. But everyone at school makes fun of her for being overweight, and Troy won't give her a second glance. Until their history teacher puts Laura front and center by announcing a field trip to the old run-down slave

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Overview

Thirteen-year-old Laura Dyson wants two things in life: to be accepted by her classmates and to be noticed by ultracute baseball star Troy Bailey. But everyone at school makes fun of her for being overweight, and Troy won't give her a second glance. Until their history teacher puts Laura front and center by announcing a field trip to the old run-down slave shack on her grandmother's property. Heck to the power of no way!

Her grandmother insists that it's more than just a shack; it's a monument to the strong women in their family—the Laura Line. Something to be proud of. But Laura knows better: if her classmates can't accept her now, they never will once they see the shack. So she comes up with the perfect plan to get the field trip canceled. But when a careless mistake puts the shack—and the Laura Line—in jeopardy, Laura must decide what's truly important to her. Can Laura figure out how to get what she wants at school while also honoring her family's past?

From Crystal Allen comes this touching and funny story of one girl's path to figuring out where she came from, and the unlimited possibilities of who she can become.

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Editorial Reviews

Donna Gephart
“Laura Dyson’s sweet, sassy voice draws you into this delightful story of self-discovery and acceptance, unwavering friendship and the deep roots of one amazing family.”
Neal Shusterman
Praise for HOW LAMAR’S BAD PRANK WON A BUBBA-SIZED TROPHY: “The tween book world has a new hero—Lamar Washington—as well as a brilliant new author who’s bound to win a Bubba-sized trophy herself!”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
Praise for HOW LAMAR’S BAD PRANK WON A BUBBA-SIZED TROPHY: “The powerful mix of sibling rivalry, revenge, and hard-won redemption strengthens the perennial appeal of the naïve-underdog-makes-good plot; readers will come for the laughs and stay for the laughs.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Praise for HOW LAMAR’S BAD PRANK WON A BUBBA-SIZED TROPHY: “The powerful mix of sibling rivalry, revenge, and hard-won redemption strengthens the perennial appeal of the naïve-underdog-makes-good plot; readers will come for the laughs and stay for the laughs.
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
Praise for HOW LAMAR’S BAD PRANK WON A BUBBA-SIZED TROPHY: “The powerful mix of sibling rivalry, revenge, and hard-won redemption strengthens the perennial appeal of the naïve-underdog-makes-good plot; readers will come for the laughs and stay for the laughs.”
Kathryn Fitzmaurice—author of THE YEAR THE SWALLOWS CAME EARLY
“Crystal Allen shows us how our relatives, even the ones we’ve never met, sometimes have a way of gently weaving a path to exactly who we’re meant to be, our truest and best self.”
Children's Literature - Shirley Nelson
Thirteen-year-old Laura has a tough time at school. She is constantly teased because she aspires to be a famous fashion model although her classmates say her chunky body makes that dream seem impossible. Laura has a crush on Troy, the cute star baseball player, yet he ignores her. Worst of all, the teacher plans a class field trip to the slave shack on her grandmother's property, a source of great embarrassment to Laura who sees it only as a reminder of the enslavement of her ancestors. She simply cannot understand how her grandmother can possibly see it as a source of family pride. Laura devises a plan to sabotage the field trip by allowing the popular girls to perform a club initiation in the shack. The plan backfires when valuable family heirlooms are damaged, and Laura finally realizes the significance of the shack to "the Laura Line." As Laura learns of her ancestors, the previous Lauras, she is able to finally believe in herself. Rather than representing the shame of slavery, the shack represents the pride of individuality. This coming-of-age story will inspire young readers. Reviewer: Shirley Nelson
School Library Journal
Gr 6�8—Eighth-grader Laura Dyson loves baseball, fashion, and Troy Bailey, the cutest boy in her class. Even the endless taunts of "Fat Larda" from resident queen bee Sunny Rasmussen aren't enough to sink her spirits. Laura's parents are departing for military training and she looks forward to spending two weeks with fabulous Aunt Carmen. Then the plan shifts and she is packed off to her grandmother's rundown farm that has, of all things, an intact slave shack. Deeply ashamed of the degradation and cruelty the shack represents, Laura wants nothing to do with it. Knowing Grandma's eagerness to share the significance of the structure and the adjacent family cemetery, the "Laura Line," the teen dreads the visit. When history teacher Mrs. Jacobs proposes a field trip to see the slave shack and cemetery, Laura is mortified by the idea and schemes to get it canceled. But in the ensuing antics, she finds she is descended from a powerful line of women going all the way back to the slave ship Amistad. While a side plot concerning Laura's irritating best friend feels a little forced, the protagonist's emotional transformation will resonate with readers. Generational bonds, notably the growth of the relationship between Laura and her grandmother, are beautifully depicted. With its humor and deep reverence for history, Allen's novel is an engaging treatment of the oft-told tale of looking within for beauty and strength.—Lalitha Nataraj, Escondido Public Library, CA
Kirkus Reviews
Modern sass combines with a historical twist, making an uneven blend of middle school melodrama and the bitter realities of slavery. As she showed in How Lamar's Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy (2011), Allen has a flare for blending the austere with the audacious. In her new novel, she introduces readers to Laura Eboni Dyson, the latest in a long line of Lauras dating back to the Amistad. Overweight and popularity-challenged, the last thing Laura wants is to draw negative attention to herself. When her seventh-grade history teacher convinces Laura's grandmother, Mrs. Anderson, to allow her class to visit the crumbling slave shack at the rear of Mrs. Anderson's property, Laura is determined to derail the class trip. Baseball-loving Laura is deeply ashamed of the shack, which she calls "yesterday's history," and she thinks her classmates will scorn her for hanging onto that history. Laura may prove tiresome to readers; she's tough, strong and self-assured in one scene and downright mealy-mouthed in the next. By the time Laura stops wallowing and realizes her profound connection to a long line of Lauras, readers may meet her epiphany with a quizzical, "Is that it?" Smartly rigged with history and graced with quick dialogue, the novel sails with Laura's snappy quips. Unfortunately, the story's emotional core sinks, leaving readers unsatisfied and adrift. (Fiction. 8-12)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061992742
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/23/2013
Pages:
328
Sales rank:
874,456
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.40(d)
Lexile:
650L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

What People are saying about this

Donna Gephart

“Laura Dyson’s sweet, sassy voice draws you into this delightful story of self-discovery and acceptance, unwavering friendship and the deep roots of one amazing family.”

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