Cover Image: The Places We Sleep

The Places We Sleep

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This is a really important story of how 9/11 looks through a child's eyes who's navigating adolescence and growing up in times of chaos. The lyrical, verse writing provides an additional layer of uniqueness and emotion.
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Thanks NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange of an honest review.

"The Places We Sleep" is about how the world keeps going even when we need a break. Abbey is trying to understand everything that's happening in her life, with the struggles of becoming a teenager and the country going through the tragedy of 9/11. The contrast between everything happening with the characters and the world is great to read. She goes through so many changes and losses in the book, all while trying to find roots in the new town she is living... and the world doesn't stop for her to find any of this things out. Just like it is in real life. We got to keep moving forward even when we don't know how.
It was also nice that the author, Caroline Brooks DuBois, portraits immigrant characters in the book too and how they were affected or treated by others during that time.
This is a beautiful coming-of-age history written in verses. I don't think middle gradders will understand every subject in the book or the emotions it passes but  I really recommend it to everyone, despite that.
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I received an electronic ARC from Holiday House Books through NetGalley.
Told in verse with a first person narrator.
Tender story about a middle schooler (Abbey) at the time of the 9/11 attack in the United States. Readers see the contrast between a normal middle school year (first period, bullies, friendship struggles, constant moves) with the horror of the 9/11 attack. Her aunt dies in the trade towers and her dad ships out to Afghanistan shortly afterward. 
Verse format allows readers to see how her emotions are constantly changing. Her first period happens at school on 9/11. She needs her mom but her mom is focused on  her aunt's husband and children to help them cope. She leaves for New York without noticing Abbey's needs. Her dad tries but is very uncomfortable. Understandable responses but they drive wedges in the family structure. Readers see how deep her mom is in grieve and anxiety as the book continues. Art is a constant that weaves through Abbey's relationships. She connects with a new friend, finds her voice to stand up to bullies and helps her dad reconnect with his own artistic abilities.
I loved this story but am not sure whether today's middle grade readers will relate to the strong emotions of the time. They will connect with a middle schooler/new kid trying to find their way.
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The Places We Sleep is the story of Abbey, an 12-year old girl who has just moved to yet another new home as the school years starts in August/September 2001 because of her dad's status in the military. Not only is Abbey navigating the trials of middle school, young adulthood, and being the new girls, but she is dealing wiht all of this in the aftermath of 9/11. Her family, personally touched by the tragedy in more ways than one, deals with grief, loss, and trying to find a personal identity during tragedy.

Abbey's story is told in verse. Often simply written, this poetry is at times heartbreaking and beautiful. This way of writing for a middle grade audience really allows readers to visualize many of the emotions and experiences that Abbey is going through. One interesting thing to think about is the fact that for the audience it is written for, this is a work of historical fiction, more or less. Which for me as a reader means that the emotions of the story are what must stand out. 

Brooks DuBois does a wonderful job with them, and never have the been more relevant in the time since 9/11 than now. In a time where we are experiencing long-term interruptions to our daily routines, work, school, and social lives, on top of the pandemic and the illness itself, readers today are experiencing many of the emotions that Abbey goes through. 

I believe that this book has wide appeal, beyond just middle grade readers. I was truly touched by Abbey's story, and felt seen by the journey she went through, and I'm an adult. I highly recommend this book to readers of any age.
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*The review below is being done on a Netgalley Advanced Reader's Copy of The Places We Sleep. This review is my own, and I have written it in my honest opinion. 

Caroline Brooks Dubois' debut novel in verse, The Places We Sleep, is set during the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. Our character Abbey must deal with puberty, death, bullies, and her father being deployed- possibly into a war zone. Although these are all tough topics as is, Dubois merges them in a very realistic way that does not overwhelm the reader. 

Abbey's father is in the Army and she is already on her 8th school in her educational career; she was very lucky to have made a friend right away, but even her friend cannot protect her all the time from the bullies that whisper hurtful words her way. Abbey sees her fair share of bullying, but another new student, very similar to Abbey, has to deal with far worse just because she is culturally and racially different than the popular kids at school. Usually, this would be enough to cause a middle schooler stress, but what makes matters worse is that there was an attack on Americans, and Abbey's aunt is lost in the rubble that was the World Trade Center. Abbey's mother must return to New York, they are in Tennessee at the moment, to help her sister's husband take care of their two young kids. During this time, Abbey's father must stay at home, but as more information of the crashes emerge it is inevitable that he will be deployed. 

As I was reading this book I realized that I was about the same age as Abbey, give or take a year, when the Twin Towers were attacked. Reading this book did remind me of the emotions that I felt as I watched the news play out at school, but what made this book important was that it gave me a different lens to view what others felt and experienced during this time. As a collective country, we can all remember where we were when we heard the news; we remember the coverage and the emotions, but our experiences do not compare to those who lived through it. Dubois gives us an example of how young people at that time were trying to understand the ideas of death, loss, and imminent war in their generation. 

I know that this review has so much information in it, but I feel it is important to add that not only does Dubois include the above topics, but while her mother is away, Abbey gets her first period. This is an important piece to talk about because we do not see menstruation discussed literature. I find it very encouraging that she included this in her novel because it gives young female readers a glimpse at how scary it is to get your first period and you don't know what to do about it. It makes shows young girls that it is okay to feel scared if you do not know what to do; I feel that this part of the book can help many young girls find comfort in knowing that they are not alone.
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Twelve year old Abbey gets her period on the day of September 11th, 2001. Abbey's Aunt Rose is missing so her mother leaves to go to New York to find her. This leaves Abbey alone and having to navigate her own feelings of loneliness, reaching adulthood, dealing with her own grievances from the attack. This book did an excellent job detailing the different reactions from the attacks such as racism, fear, grief, and loss. It is written in verse and makes for a quick read that packs a punch. Though it is targeted for children, young adults and above can read this as well.

Thank you to Netgalley and to the publisher for the advanced copy!
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Thanks NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC for review.
Written in a lyrical format, the story is about 9/11 through the point of view of a young girl. 
9/11 is a sensitive event. I appreciate the author's approach to write the untold story of children trying to understand such difficult situations in the realm of  adults. It was an interesting read. A good book for young readers.
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The morning of September 11, 2001, 7th grader Abbey gets her period for the first time. Later that day, she and her classmates learn of the plane crashes in New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania, and Abbey finds out that her Aunt Rose, who works in the World Trade Center, is missing. While Abbey's mom hurriedly packs the car to drive to New York to help look for her sister, Abbey's dad, an Army commander, realizes what these attacks may mean for deployment. Over the course of the remainder of the school year, Abbey struggles to make sense of her body, her new friendships at a new school, how her family will move forward, and who she is becoming.

I was completely drawn in by Abbey, as someone who was also trying to navigate how to handle a first period in 7th grade, and as someone who was in middle school on 9/11. DuBois captures that uncertainty and emotional roller coaster of being a 12 year old girl so well, and I think readers will be able to easily identify with Abbey. I can think of so many students I would have handed this to at work. DuBois's narration told in verse makes Abbey's story even more accessible to the kids who need it. And THANK YOU for putting periods into middle grade fiction. Getting your period is SO CENTRAL to so many middle school girls, and there are so few books about it. Unlike my older sister, I did not want anything to do with my period, and definitely didn't want to talk about it. I would have benefited so much by being able to read stories like this one, of girls going through it, to feel less isolated and less alone.
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The coming-of-age verse story I've been looking for for a long time. Abbey Wood, the daughter of a US soldier in the army, has just moved to Tennessee when she gets her first period and learns of the September 11 attacks on the same day. Now, on top of dealing with the usual middle-school struggles, her aunt is presumed dead and her father has left to fight in Afghanistan. After becoming the target of cruel bullies, she bonds with another new girl in her class, Jiman, who is Muslim and whose family is looked down on after the attacks. This book would be perfect for middle-school classrooms.
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What a beautiful, poignant story. The Places We Sleep is the first novel in verse I've read, but I doubt it will be the last. Abbey's story was so moving as readers watch her life change on September 11th. Her voice was authentic and touching, and I think her story will resonate with modern middle grade readers as well as adults who who were teens on September 11th. Highly recommended to any fans of novels in verse, but it is very accessible to readers who prefer straight prose too.

Thank you to the publisher and to Netgalley for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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This book is set around the events of September 11th and how children were affected by the terrorist attack. It follows 12 year old Abbey, who is the new girl in school once again when the family move because of her dad's work in the army. It is September 11th 2001 and Abbey gets her first period. The book intertwines the historical events of the day with a coming of age story of a girl trying to find her feet in a new place.
This is a middle grade book written entirely in verse. I'm finding myself enjoying middle grade more and more and wondering why I shut off the genre thinking it was going to be too young for me. There's lots there to enjoy for kids but also big kids like me. 
The only thing that confused me slightly was the way the book jumped about so much. It is written as though we are in Abbey's fast moving mind, flitting between all the problems that she is facing. I like the style for that reasons but it just made it difficult to follow sometimes. Usually when I was uncertain about something, it was explained pretty quick but I did find myself thrown out of the story occasionally and looking around for context.
The book was really emotional and honest. I didn't know middle grade fiction could hit me as hard as this one did. The disaster of September 11th sometimes feels so far removed from our understanding that we become numb to it. This book brings the real human stories back to the forefront and reminds us of how we felt when it first happened.
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The Places We Sleep has so much going on in it!  and it's amazing!  i've never read a book in this style so i personally found it hard to follow some of the jumping around but I really loved it.  it made me remember my day in school on 9/11.  Highly recommend this read!
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A gorgeously drawn graphic novel with an interesting narrative, plot, and concepts. Definitely recommended for fans of this genre.
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Now I know I may not be doing this justice since it appears that many other readers enjoyed it but the prose reminded me too much of the likes of Amanda Lovelace that I could just not get into it.

DNF
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I thought this was a beautifully written book and the verse was a bit choppy in places but that may have been my ebook version and not the actual book. The Places We Sleep is a coming of age story about Abbey who is struggling to find her identity in the complex world post 9/11. 
 Abbey deals with middle school and puberty but those are just a few problems this book tackled. We also see more difficult subject matter such as racism, war, bullying and grief. I would recommend this novel as it sends a lovely message of kindness and acceptance. I think many middle graders will relate to this character in their own way. 

Thank you for this ARC!
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Because of her father’s work, Abbey and her family moved around a lot. It had always been that way, but now that she was older, Abbey didn’t feel so good about moving. She wanted to take root, to feel for once that she belonged somewhere. She was tired of changing houses, schools and friends so often. She needed some stability so she didn’t always feel out of place, displaced.

Abbey wouldn’t know why, but of all the places she’s lived, this is the one she likes the most and maybe this is mostly because here she found her soul mate her best friend in Camille. Someone who doesn’t treat her like a stranger or ask awkward questions. From the first moment they have become inseparable, sharing laughter, secrets and dreams.

The new school year has just begun and Abbey is experiencing a major change that marks the end of her childhood and for which she does not feel ready. That day, too, classes end much earlier than expected and although she believes something must have happened, the idea of going home earlier  filled her with joy.

Abbey needs to talk to her mother, tell her what just happened to her and have her advise about what to do. But her mother now has no time to talk, she has to leave as soon as possible for New York, one of the Twin Towers has just been knocked down and her sister Rose is missing.

The Places We Sleep is mainly a story about the reaction of the American people on 9/11 seen through the eyes of a 12-year-old girl, but it is also a book that tells us about feelings, fears, joys and illusions. Written in verse, Abbey gradually breaks down her life and deepest thoughts. She opens her heart to us and expresses her bewilderment and incomprehension at many of the attitudes of the people around her.

Although it is told in the first person, we have a very complete view of all the characters. We can feel through Abbey the great sadness of her mother, the impotence of her father and the great change experienced in her family after the disappearance of her aunt.

The characters are very well developed, brief and precise. But what struck and pleased me most is the very important role that bewilderment plays in this story. It could be said that it is another character that acquires weight and prominence as we read.

We can perceive it from the beginning with the changes that Abbey is experiencing in her body and then it gets bigger with what happened in New York and it goes even further as she slowly begins to understand the very important impact that this simple fact has on her life. How it influences her relationship with the people around her and especially with her father.

The Places We Sleep is a beautiful and emotionally intense book. I think it is one of those readings that should be read slowly and take some time to reflect on many of the very interesting topics it deals with.
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I sincerely didn't like it, I didn't enjoy it, It made me feel a little bored. I don't think this book is for me, but this book has a very good writing and it's very understandable
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Twelve year old Abbey is starting the school year at a new school once again.  This time she is in Tennessee and her school is farther from her father's Army base than usual.  Abbey has also managed to make a friend in happy and athletic Camille.  She might even make friends with the artistic and cool Jiman.  Then, September 11, 2001 comes.  Abbey wakes up with her first menstrual cycle along with the news that will change her life forever.  Once the news hits, Abbey's mother rushes to New York, her sister Rebecca is missing.  Abbey is left with her father, her new body and a new world to navigate.  As time passes, Abbey's father is deployed, and kids change their opinion about her at school, all the while her body keeps on schedule, slowly marking the months. 

Uniquely written in narrative verse, The Places We Sleep beautifully captures the thoughts of a preteen experiencing the trauma of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The writing immediately took me back to that day that connected so many of us across the country in fear.  Just like Abbey, the day has been cemented in my mind.  The verse perfectly captures the raw emotion at the time paralleled with coming of age. Through Abbey's eyes there is a deep look at the grief, depression and confusion that defined the months following the attacks. Between Abbey's Aunt, parents, and classmates there is a wide cross section of representation of how people reacted and were effected by many aspects of 9/11.  Abbey shows that while an event may seem defining, the support of friendship and love can help you through. 

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
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This story follows Abbey, the daughter of an army officer, and details her life around 9/11, interlinked with getting her first period. It is written in verse and it’s worded beautifully.

I received an eARC from Net Galley and found the story difficult to follow - I assume it was an issue with the formatting in the eBook, rather than just a very unclear narrative structure. Parts of the story seemed disjointed and would connect again a few pages later. 

I wouldn’t share this with my class as the themes are a little too challenging - I would recommend it more for older children and teenagers, perhaps age 12+.
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The Places We Sleep is a coming of age story surrounding a complex world post 9/11 which is unbelievably magnificent in every way. This novel was honest and truthful, tackling difficult subject matters while also raising awareness towards young readers regarding the messages of bravery.
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