The Peach Rebellion

Knopf. May 2022. 416p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593378564.
Gr 8 Up–Van Draanen’s foray into historical fiction is a successful snapshot of post-Depression America. Even more importantly, she continues to capture the souls of teenage girls, perfectly penning the hopes and fears of her protagonists’ progression. The two narrators—Ginny Rose and Peggy—are distinct. Ginny Rose grapples with settling down after years of Dust Bowl travels and heartbreak, experiences reflected in her steely outlook and resolve. She works to provide for her family, both physically and emotionally. Peggy also experiences growth, minus the tragic backstory. She inhabits the optimism of a kid growing up through wartime, seeing life and gender roles change and now finding herself unwilling to move backward. The friendship between these girls, and the relationships of the siblings and acquaintances around them, are all built on compassion. There are no simple villains here. Everyone has a story, everyone is complex, and the post-Depression era setting serves to educate while highlighting fundamental lessons about empathy. All main characters cue white.
VERDICT A compelling story of friendship and learning from tragedy, set against a historically accurate and fascinating backdrop.

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