Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Eb and Flow

Baptist, Kelly J. Eb & Flow 
14 Mar 2023 Random House Children's
E ARC provided by Netgalley

DeKari, who prefers to be called Flow, gets into an altercation with Ebony (Eb) after a kerfuffle where Eb spills barbecue sauce on shoes his father gave him before being deployed and Flow hits her in the face. This is caught on security cameras, and results in a ten day suspension for both of them. Their families are not happy. With Flow's father away, his mother looks to his Uncle Reggie for help in filling his time away from school and making sure he gets his homework done. For Eb, it's even more complicated. Her father is in Texas, and her mother is nearby, but Eb and her sister and her sister's son are all living with their grandmother, who taught school for 38 years. The two struggle to find ways to fill their time during their suspension, and Flow takes up swimming. Flow's brother Cas and Eb's sister Poke have a surprising relationship that leads to some problems with rival groups, and that causes a lot of stress as well. Are Eb and Flow sworn enemies who are always in trouble, or children dealing with challenging lives who have a misunderstanding that snowballs?
Strengths: My students love Baptiste's work, especially The Swag is in the Socks, and one of my 8th grade boys was so interested in this book that he came in every day during study hall to read it on my E Reader! The cover is great (same artist as the aforementioned title, I suspect), and the story dissects Flow and Eb's baggage that is brought to their confrontation, and unpacks it as the book progresses. The supporting characters that swirl in and out of their lives are interesting, and the depiction of how they spend their time while out of school will be appealing to students who have wondered what happens to their classmates who are suddenly out for a long time, or who have spent a bit of time away from school themselves. The concept that we share similarities even with our "enemies" is thought provoking.
Weaknesses: The verse format from two perspectives, along with the speech patterns, made this one somewhat difficult for me to follow. I'm curious to see how the page formatting looks in the print version, because I think part of this difficulty might have been caused by the way the page layout was displayed in the E ARC. 
What I really think: There are more books about children getting suspended than I suspected: Broaddus' The Usual Suspects, Farmer's Malcolm and Me, Ross' The Amazing Beef Squad, Cho's Troublemaker, Lucas' Thanks a Lot, Universe, and Johnson's Playing the Cards Your Dealt are just a start. 

Ms. Yingling

1 comment:

  1. It's always interesting to me to see which book kid readers gravitate to.