I don’t read many novels in verse, preferring instead to stay with stories told the more traditional way. For me to break away from my comfort zone takes either a character or time period I’d like to spend time with—and in THE PLACES WE SLEEP I got both. There’s 12-year-old Abbey, the only child in an always on the move military family and it’s September, 2001, specifically the stunning day and aftermath we know as 9/11.
It took me a few pages in to appreciate the rhythm and pace with so few words and no chapter numbers. But soon I was in Abbey’s world and her struggles of fitting into still another school (This time in Tennessee) and dealing with puberty. Told from Abbey’s POV, the journey is heartbreaking, but one that will also warm your heart. It’s a unique look at coming of age, war, and how 9/11 changed everyone.
BOOK BIRTHDAY: August 25, 2020 PAGE COUNT: 272
Here’s the official Synopsis:
It’s early September 2001, and twelve-year-old Abbey is the new kid at school. Again.
I worry about people speaking to me / and worry just the same / when they don’t.
Abbey has found a real friend: loyal, courageous, athletic Camille.
And then it’s September 11. The country is under attack, and Abbey’s “home” looks like it might fall apart. America has changed overnight.
How are we supposed / to keep this up / with the world / crumbling / around us?
Abbey’s body changes, too, while her classmates argue and her family falters. Like everyone around her, she tries to make sense of her own experience as a part of the country’s collective pain. With her mother grieving and her father prepping for active duty, Abbey must learn to cope on her own.
FIVE MORE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT THE PLACES WE SLEEP by Caroline Brooks DuBois
- I was in the car on my way to a meeting on the morning of 9/11 when the news broke. Kids today have heard of 9/11 but know few of the details. Now they can experience what it was like for families back then.
- The phobias and stereotypes many had of people not “American” are brought forth as worries of war and more attacks drag through a community.
- A middle school and all the nastiness that can go on among students will hopefully encourage discussion about respect for all.
- Yes, Abbey’s father is sent to Afghanistan and although he is far way and may never come back, the experience brings her closer to the dad she loves.
- The ending made me smile with an enthusiastic nod.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Caroline Brooks DuBois found her poetic voice in the halls of the English Department at Converse College and the University of Bucknell’s Seminar for Young Poets. She received a Master of Fine Arts degree in poetry at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, under the scholarship of Pulitzer Prize winning poet James Tate, among other greats in the poetry world.
Caroline writes both poetry and prose and a mixture of the two. Her poetry has appeared in an eclectic collection of media, from Highlights High Five (November 2017), Southern Poetry Review, to The Journal of the American Medical Association. Caroline is represented by Louise Fury of The Bent Agency.
Caroline has taught poetry workshops, various writing classes, and English at the middle school, high school, and college levels. In May 2016, she was recognized as a Nashville Blue Ribbon Teacher for her dedication to her students and excellence in teaching adolescents.
Caroline is the Director of the Literary Arts Conservatory at Nashville School of the Arts High School in Nashville, Tennessee. She lives with her singer-song writer husband, with whom she’s co-written songs, and their two children and dog.
For more about Caroline and her writing, check out her web page.
I received and ARC in exchange for my honest review. Comments are welcome below.