Tensions come to a head in the dramatic fallout of one sister meddling in another’s affairs and dredging up the past. The relationship dynamics are slowly, heartwarmingly/heartbreakingly explained through the course of the story as we learn more and more about the intertwined experiences of each family member.
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Twin sisters, Stella and Desiree, were inseparable as kids, but diverged as adults. One returned to her small Louisiana all-Black hometown after many years away. The other mysteriously disappeared to live her life passing for a white woman, no one in her new life having a clue.
Friendship bonds are put to the test as a group of upper middle class parents wrestles with their feelings over the plans for an exclusive public school for gifted children. Lines between personal ambitions and competitiveness and wanting the best for their children are blurred as parents get caught up in the application process.
The Sound of Gravel, with tears streaming down my face. I haven’t read a book that gave me such intense emotion in a long time.
Believe is about Melanie, a smart and imaginative 5th-grader. On the surface, this is the story of Melanie’s struggle with being the new kid in school and dealing with mean-girl Karen’s bullying. On a deeper level, though, Melanie is coping with the loss of her mother who, as Melanie explains, left the family just a year prior. Melanie leans on her precocious and confident friend, Sabrina, to help her know just what to say to Karen, find the courage to audition for a school play, and ultimately face the reality of her mother’s disappearance.