Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine

Many people have heard about the Little Rock Nine, the nine black students who integrated a high school in Arkansas in 1957.  What is less known is that in the following year, the Little Rock school board decided to close their high schools rather than integrate.  This book is set in 1958.  Marlee is a middle schooler who finds it difficult to speak to anyone.  She meets a new girl at school named Liz who immediately clashes with the most popular girl. But rather than feeling intimidated, Liz becomes the queen herself.  With Liz as her new friend, Marlee finds herself speaking up more.  But everyone, including Marlee, is shocked when they find out that Liz is actually a black girl who is passing for white.  Marlee and Liz's friendship puts both of them in danger in a town that is so racist but Marlee can't stay silent anymore.  I was really looking forward to this book because I loved Levine's The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had.  This one didn't quite live up to her other title, but I always wonder if that's because my expectations were so high to begin with. It is still a good story with well-developed characters who exhibit a mixture of qualities both good and bad.  So, not as amazing as I wanted but still pretty darn good.