Where You've Got to Be
"Heartfelt, honest, and beautifully told--Nolie's NYC story is a must-read. Bonus points for an absolutely amazing Grandma character!" --Lisa Greenwald, author of The Friendship List and TBH series
Feeling left behind by both her sister and her best friend, Nolie tries her best to belong but soon finds herself at a moral crossroads. Set in the bustle of New York City during the Jewish High Holy Days, Where You've Got to Be is an accessible story about identities and relationships--the ones you keep and ones you let go. Pitch-perfect for tween readers who love Rebecca Stead, Holly Goldberg Sloan, and contemporary realistic stories.
Nolie's sister, Linden, may be only fourteen months older than she is, but suddenly that feels longer than it ever has before. Linden is growing up. She cuts short their Cousins Week at Grandma's beach cottage to focus on excelling in her ballet auditions, and she throws away the seashell necklace Grandma gave each of them--though Nolie secretly saves it. Even Nolie's best friend, Jessa, is suddenly trying to act older and cooler, and she wants Nolie to be someone different, too.
With everything and everyone changing around her, Nolie starts to feel adrift. Should she be changing, too? Who does she want to be? One impulsive decision leads to another and another . . . until Nolie has a secret collection of things that don't belong to her. Now, Nolie must face the fact that she may have ended up on the wrong path so she can start to find her way back.
This voice-driven read hits the sweet spot for readers of The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise and Finding Orion.
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About the Author
Caroline Gertler is a former editor at Wendy Lamb Books and the author of Many Points of Me. Caroline Gertler lives with her family in New York City.
"Heartfelt, honest and beautifully told--Nolie's NYC story is a must-read. Bonus points for an absolutely amazing Grandma character!" -- Lisa Greenwald, author of The Friendship List and TBH series
"Nolie's tale is rich with references to her family's history and Judaism. Gertler handles middle-grade angst, family dynamics, and serious issues with candor and compassion. Readers will commiserate and root for this story's sympathetic protagonist." -- Kirkus Reviews
"Eleven-year-old Nolie . . . is having trouble adjusting to sixth grade . . . Tension builds at home, and Nolie starts taking things that don't belong to her. . . . [Sister] Linden tries to help, but it's their wise, Jewish grandmother who understands Nolie best and helps her find a way forward. Gertler uses the New York City setting effectively as a distinctive backdrop for the action in this well-developed story of tween friends and siblings growing apart and either going their separate ways or bridging the gap to become close again." -- Booklist
"Sixth grader Nolie feels left behind . . . Overwhelmed and without any emotional outlets, Nolie impulsively steals sentimental treasures like her Grandma's compass and Jessa's crystal necklace, despite knowing how hurtful those acts might be. Nolie tries to find her way back to the right path . . . [while] learning how to stay true to herself while accepting the changes in the process. Gertler gives an authentic picture of a kid floundering in the new waters of middle school social dynamics without a lifeboat in sight. . . . An exploration of conscience and coping." -- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Eleven-year-old Nolie feels adrift. . . . She begins processing her worries by picking at the skin on her thumb and stealing objects that make her feel better. . . . Buoyed by the confidence of a new friend and the tough, practical guidance [sister] Linden gives upon discovering the stolen objects, Nolie begins to take responsibility for herself and her actions, and that leads her to the help she needs from her family and the confidence to start fresh. This raw story of growing up is also full of the strength, history, and warmth of a close-knit Jewish family." -- Horn Book Magazine