The Peach Rebellion
Written by Wendelin Van Draanen
The March Children’s Book Committee’s Young Reviewer Post is from 15 year-old, Nikhil, from Englewood, NJ who rated The Peach Rebellion by Wendelin Van Draanen from Knopf Books for Young Readers as Excellent! Read more about his review on our website.
Our Young Reviewer Says:
“With a startling start and a heartwarming finish, The Peach Rebellion provides a personal look into the conditions of so called “Okies” post Dust Bowl and Great Depression. The two main characters, Ginny Rose and Peggy, share the stage beautifully as they face individual conflicts that mirror each other in order for them to grow together. While Ginny Rose lives in a small house on the outskirts of town, Peggy lives on an immense peach farm. Later on, we meet Peggy’s friend, Lisette, who is even higher on the socioeconomic ladder, being the daughter of a banker. In spite of the combination of family disapproval and status keeping these three apart, their friendship blossoms. All three characters surprise both themselves and the reader with their actions. Surprisingly, despite the serious undertones, the book is witty and funny.
This book, though published in 2022, has a very similar feel to other books written about this time period, such as The Grapes of Wrath. The characters feel real, the imagery is breath-taking, and the themes are present to anyone, anywhere. Standing up in the face of adversity and staying true to yourself are two lessons everyone could benefit from.
The Peach Rebellion being placed in the time period after the Dust Bowl and Great Depression make the situation Ginny Rose is placed in much more believable and allow the reader to empathize with her significantly more. Van Draanen fully utilizes the time period and all the implications of it (such as discrimination against Ginny Rose and her family, frequent flashbacks to Ginny Rose’s past, explanations for the behavior of Peggy’s family, biases formed by Ginny Rose against Lisette, and vice versa) in order to tell a compelling story that feels right in the time period.
Ginny Rose becomes more bold and accepting throughout the story due to the challenges she faces. Watching her mother wither away while she has a solution for it that her father simply won’t allow forces her to be fearless and take a huge risk. She also wants to carve a new life out for herself and so has to stand up for herself to her mother and father as they disapprove of her decision making. She also has to learn to be more accepting of others, as shown through how she initially rejected Lisette. By understanding that everyone faces hardships and that people can be kinder than you think, she learns to accept Lisette and eventually become friends with her.”
–Nikhil, age 15, Englewood, NJ.
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