Redwood and Ponytail
Redwood and Ponytail
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Annotation: This middle-grade novel in verse tells the story of the developing friendship between two girls, Kate and Tam, who fall for each other at school.
Catalog Number: #190379
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
No other formats available
Special Formats: Hot Title Hot Title
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Pages: 416 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-452-17288-9
ISBN 13: 978-1-452-17288-0
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2018053880
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Kirkus Reviews
Two middle school girls grapple with their blossoming feelings for each other in this verse novel.Tam is a volleyball player sometimes mistaken for a boy. Kate is a popular cheerleader. When they notice each other at seventh grade registration, Tam sees a walking cliché with a perfect ponytail, while Kate sees a girl as "tall as a palm tree." When they meet face to face, they strike an immediate rapport. Soon the two are having lunch together every day and linking pinkies in the halls. As they grow closer, each finds herself questioning who she thought she was. Tam doesn't know how she fits into Kate's seemingly perfect world. Kate, who has spent her life trying to live up to her shallow, perfectionist mother's expectations, wants to go her own way, a process that includes deciding whether or not to admit her feelings for Tam. Tam and Kate share the first-person narration, which keenly conveys each girl's joys and inner turmoil. The dual narratives play off of each other, sometimes in a call-and-response manner that clearly communicates the shyness, awkwardness, and confusion of first love. A trio of unseen watchers, identified as Alex, Alyx, and Alexx, collectively represent the observant school-hallway bystanders, providing commentary and speculation in the manner of a Greek chorus. Their verses can be read vertically or horizontally, resulting in multiple meanings. Characters are racially ambiguous.A glowing, heartfelt addition to the middle-grade LGBTQ genre. (Fiction. 8-14)
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
Two middle school girls grapple with their blossoming feelings for each other in this verse novel.Tam is a volleyball player sometimes mistaken for a boy. Kate is a popular cheerleader. When they notice each other at seventh grade registration, Tam sees a walking cliché with a perfect ponytail, while Kate sees a girl as "tall as a palm tree." When they meet face to face, they strike an immediate rapport. Soon the two are having lunch together every day and linking pinkies in the halls. As they grow closer, each finds herself questioning who she thought she was. Tam doesn't know how she fits into Kate's seemingly perfect world. Kate, who has spent her life trying to live up to her shallow, perfectionist mother's expectations, wants to go her own way, a process that includes deciding whether or not to admit her feelings for Tam. Tam and Kate share the first-person narration, which keenly conveys each girl's joys and inner turmoil. The dual narratives play off of each other, sometimes in a call-and-response manner that clearly communicates the shyness, awkwardness, and confusion of first love. A trio of unseen watchers, identified as Alex, Alyx, and Alexx, collectively represent the observant school-hallway bystanders, providing commentary and speculation in the manner of a Greek chorus. Their verses can be read vertically or horizontally, resulting in multiple meanings. Characters are racially ambiguous.A glowing, heartfelt addition to the middle-grade LGBTQ genre. (Fiction. 8-14)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* With her latest novel in verse, Holt returns to the world of House Arrest (2015) and Knockout (2018), this time turning her focus to the story of Kate and Tam. Kate, with her "perfect swinging" ponytail, is next in line to be cheerleading captain, much to the satisfaction of her demanding, ex-cheerleader mother. Tam, tall as a redwood, is a popular volleyball jock whose "hippie" mother and elderly lesbian neighbors help her feel free to be herself. When the new school year brings the two girls together, they form an immediate bond, but it's a friendship that soon feels like something more, and each of them must make sense of their feelings in the face of first love and the pressure of outside expectations. The free verse narration is totally accessible, flowing quick and clear, and Holt plays with form, beautifully highlighting the parallel internal journeys, often achieving something akin to a musical duet. Ultimately, this is a middle-school romance concerned with the thrilling, confusing, world-shifting emotions of that age. In an afterword, Holt writes that this was the book she needed when she was a kid, and all kinds of children will find hope in what, more than anything, is a moving story well-told.
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review ALA Booklist (7/1/19)
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
Reading Level: 5.0
Interest Level: 5-9
Guided Reading Level: Z
Fountas & Pinnell: Z

A universal story of finding a way to be comfortable in your own skin: Kate and Tam meet, and both of their worlds tip sideways. At first, Tam figures Kate is your stereotypical cheerleader; Kate sees Tam as another tall jock. And the more they keep running into each other, the more they surprise each other. Beneath Kate's sleek ponytail and perfect façade, Tam sees a goofy, sensitive, lonely girl. And Tam's so much more than a volleyball player, Kate realizes: She's everything Kate wishes she could be. It's complicated. Except it's not. When Kate and Tam meet, they fall in like. It's as simple as that. But not everybody sees it that way.

• A novel in verse about two girls discovering their feelings for each other in a sincere and relatable way that helps young reader connect to the storyline
• Features a unique presentation of text that beautifully merges together two first-person narratives
• K.A. Holt is the author of Rhyme Schemer, House Arrest, Knockout, and several other books for young people. She lives in Austin, Texas

"A glowing, heartfelt addition to the middle-grade LGBTQ genre." Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"The free verse narration is totally accessible, flowing quick and clear, and Holt plays with form, beautifully highlighting the parallel internal journeys, often achieving something akin to a musical duet. Ultimately, this is a . . . moving story well-told." Booklist, starred review

• A great chapter book for middle school students
• Novels for preteens and teenagers ages 10-14


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