Pity Party

Little, Brown. Jan. 2021. 208p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780316417365.
Gr 3-7–This party starts with a “cordial invitation” in verse to all those who don’t quite fit in. The invitation sets the tone for the rest of book, which is a collection of tangentially connected stories interspersed with witty quizzes, advertisements, and choose-your-own-path prompts. The stories follow different students at Bridger Middle School. They are, on the whole, a diverse student body and include a student who uses they/them pronouns, a student whose family lives in a converted school bus, and a student with an unnamed anxiety disorder. Lane weaves elements of magical realism throughout many of her stories. One standout is “True Story,” which follows Caleb, who is able to stand up to his bullies with help from a magical mood ring from a thrift store. Another standout is “Behaviorally Challenged,” in which Lexi and Tashi stand up to the Plus, a new system where students are sorted into four different groups based on their personality and are forced to spend their recreational time at school with only the students in their group. The various format interludes are another highlight of this unique text. These include a letter from The Department of Insecurity, the Chart of Relative Calamity, and more. Lane has written a heartfelt and relatable book filled with moments of darkness and humor, plus a little magic.
VERDICT Perfect for anyone who has ever felt out of place in a social situation. Hand to fans of Jason Reynolds’s Look Both Ways. A first purchase for all libraries serving middle schoolers.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing