Racism… Shootings of black youth… Treatment of deaf and deafness… White privilege… First crush.
Wow… a lot of topics to throw into one story—perhaps too many.
Jilly is a white middle school girl who reflects on the happenings in her life. She has a new baby sister who is deaf and Jilly has her own ideas about how to deal with the disability. Next she witnesses racism in her own family and through the eyes of the deaf community. She also has a liking for a deaf black boy she meets online via a chat room set up for a massively popular fantasy series.
What Jilly says will either match what young audience are thinking or make them realize they had never thought about it that way. This is where the power of Jilly P resides. The story is best read in a classroom or with family. Talking to others about these topics will give readers the chance to reflect and maybe begin to make change—just like Jilly’s family does in a bold way.
The Author notes were quite helpful in framing the reasons and connections as to why the story was written. It might be something you read before starting the first chapter.
The ending is not one I enjoy in books where there’s a sudden rush to push the story forward three months, then nine more months, three more months, and finally three more years. I’d much rather read a sequel.
Overall a great springboard for a discussion on these current topics in our communities.
Year Published: 2018 Page Count: 256
Summary (Via the author’s web site):
The way the world sees you changes how you see the world.
Jilly thinks she’s figured out how life works. But when her sister Emma is born Deaf, she realizes how much she still has to learn. The world is going to treat Jilly, who is white and hearing, differently from Emma, just as it will treat them both differently from their Black cousins.
A big fantasy reader, Jilly makes a connection online with another fantasy fan, Derek, who is a Deaf Black ASL user. She goes to Derek for help with Emma but doesn’t always know the best way or time to ask for it. As she and Derek meet in person, have some really fun conversations, and become friends, Jilly makes some mistakes . . . but comes to understand that it’s up to her, not Derek, to figure out how to do better next time — especially when she wants to be there for Derek the most.
Within a world where kids like Derek and Emma aren’t assured the same freedom or safety as kids like Jilly, Jilly is starting to learn all the things she doesn’t know – and by doing that, she’s also working to discover how to support her family and her friends.
All About Alex Gino
Alex Gino loves glitter, ice cream, gardening, awe-ful puns, and stories that reflect the diversity and complexity of being alive. They would take a quiet coffee date with a friend over a loud and crowded party any day. Alex is proud to have been an activist and advocate for LGBTQ+ communities since 1997. Born and raised on Staten Island, NY, they now enjoy living in Oakland, CA. Alex is author of middle grade novels You Don’t Know Everything, Jilly P! and the Stonewall Award-winning George.
(I received a galley for my honest review)