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In a stunning novel set in the 1980s, a girl with heavy secrets awakens her sleepy street to the complexities of love and courage. It’s the summer of ’83 on Trowbridge Road, and June Bug Jordan is hungry. Months after her father’s death from complications from AIDS, her mother has stopped cooking and refuses to leave the house, instead locking herself away to scour at the g In a stunning novel set in the 1980s, a girl with heavy secrets awakens her sleepy street to the complexities of love and courage. It’s the summer of ’83 on Trowbridge Road, and June Bug Jordan is hungry. Months after her father’s death from complications from AIDS, her mother has stopped cooking and refuses to leave the house, instead locking herself away to scour at the germs she believes are everywhere. June Bug threatens this precarious existence by going out into the neighborhood, gradually befriending Ziggy, an imaginative boy who is living with his Nana Jean after experiencing troubles of his own. But as June Bug’s connection to the world grows stronger, her mother’s grows more distant — even dangerous — pushing June Bug to choose between truth and healing and the only home she has ever known. Trowbridge Road paints an unwavering portrait of a girl and her family touched by mental illness and grief. Set in the Boston suburbs during the first years of the AIDS epidemic, the novel explores how a seemingly perfect neighborhood can contain restless ghosts and unspoken secrets. Written with deep insight and subtle lyricism by acclaimed author Marcella Pixley, Trowbridge Road demonstrates our power to rescue one another even when our hearts are broken.


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In a stunning novel set in the 1980s, a girl with heavy secrets awakens her sleepy street to the complexities of love and courage. It’s the summer of ’83 on Trowbridge Road, and June Bug Jordan is hungry. Months after her father’s death from complications from AIDS, her mother has stopped cooking and refuses to leave the house, instead locking herself away to scour at the g In a stunning novel set in the 1980s, a girl with heavy secrets awakens her sleepy street to the complexities of love and courage. It’s the summer of ’83 on Trowbridge Road, and June Bug Jordan is hungry. Months after her father’s death from complications from AIDS, her mother has stopped cooking and refuses to leave the house, instead locking herself away to scour at the germs she believes are everywhere. June Bug threatens this precarious existence by going out into the neighborhood, gradually befriending Ziggy, an imaginative boy who is living with his Nana Jean after experiencing troubles of his own. But as June Bug’s connection to the world grows stronger, her mother’s grows more distant — even dangerous — pushing June Bug to choose between truth and healing and the only home she has ever known. Trowbridge Road paints an unwavering portrait of a girl and her family touched by mental illness and grief. Set in the Boston suburbs during the first years of the AIDS epidemic, the novel explores how a seemingly perfect neighborhood can contain restless ghosts and unspoken secrets. Written with deep insight and subtle lyricism by acclaimed author Marcella Pixley, Trowbridge Road demonstrates our power to rescue one another even when our hearts are broken.

30 review for Trowbridge Road

  1. 4 out of 5

    Wendi Lee

    This is a middle grade book with a lot of heavy material. The middle grade genre is known for tackling hard issues (one of the reasons I love MG), but this one is unusually top heavy with trauma. It's 1983, and June is trying to survive life with her mother. Her father was recently died, and June's mother is no longer capable of taking care of her. June relies on groceries from her uncle a few times a week, and tries to avoid decontamination sessions with her mother. Her father passed away from This is a middle grade book with a lot of heavy material. The middle grade genre is known for tackling hard issues (one of the reasons I love MG), but this one is unusually top heavy with trauma. It's 1983, and June is trying to survive life with her mother. Her father was recently died, and June's mother is no longer capable of taking care of her. June relies on groceries from her uncle a few times a week, and tries to avoid decontamination sessions with her mother. Her father passed away from complications due to AIDS, and the disease is so new that even nurses at the hospital aren't sure how it's transmitted. June's mother has responded with gallons of bleach, latex gloves, and effectively sealing herself off from the world. Next door, Ziggy has moved in with his grandfather. His mother is also unable to care for him, and Ziggy must deal with a new home, neighborhood, and soon, a new school. He's an easy target for the neighborhood kids because of his long red hair and strange clothes, but June sees a kindred spirit. So ... this is actually the second middle grade book I've read recently where the mother character, suffering from mental illness, is literally unable to feed her child. It's so sad, and even sadder that there are kids out there that need to read these books and know that 1) this isn't something they have to deal with by themselves and 2) there are resources they can use to get help. Anyway, there are a lot of issues dealt with in this novel: mental illness, homophobia, domestic abuse, neglect. June and Ziggy get by by pretending to live in a magical world where, for once, they have power over their own lives. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Debbie Gascoyne

    A beautifully written and ultimately hopeful book, though at times deeply sad, this novel demonstrates the way that life can be redeemed by friendships and found family. June Bug's father has died of AIDS, and her mother is sunk in grief. June is hungry all the time. Then one day a boy, who has problems of his own, comes to stay with his grandmother; the two children become friends and help each other forget their troubles through story-telling and play. I very much enjoyed the under-stated way A beautifully written and ultimately hopeful book, though at times deeply sad, this novel demonstrates the way that life can be redeemed by friendships and found family. June Bug's father has died of AIDS, and her mother is sunk in grief. June is hungry all the time. Then one day a boy, who has problems of his own, comes to stay with his grandmother; the two children become friends and help each other forget their troubles through story-telling and play. I very much enjoyed the under-stated way the author dealt with various tough issues. I confess, though, to having a very slight feeling of being over-whelmed with all the different social problems; on the other hand, the author reminds us that very few families are as secure and happy as they may appear on the surface. So, although Pixley doesn't flinch from showing the damage that grief, mental illness and other issues can cause, ultimately the message is hopeful. Through caring and reaching out to others, children and their parents can make it through. I was given an ARC of this book by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tracy Susko

    Thank you to Netgalley and Candlewick Publishers for providing me with a free advanced copy to read in exchange for an honest review. June Bug Jordan lives on Trowbridge Road, in a run down house with her mother. June Bug's mother isn't normal. She doesn't cook for June Bug, or even let her sleep in her own bedroom. Since June Bug's father, Marty, died of AIDS, her mother, Angela, keeps certain rooms in the house closed off because they have germs, and she won't leave the house. When June Bug co Thank you to Netgalley and Candlewick Publishers for providing me with a free advanced copy to read in exchange for an honest review. June Bug Jordan lives on Trowbridge Road, in a run down house with her mother. June Bug's mother isn't normal. She doesn't cook for June Bug, or even let her sleep in her own bedroom. Since June Bug's father, Marty, died of AIDS, her mother, Angela, keeps certain rooms in the house closed off because they have germs, and she won't leave the house. When June Bug comes home and her mother thinks she is dirty or picked up germs, she makes her take a hot bath with bleach in the water, and makes her scrub herself with a brush. June Bug's Uncle Toby, her dad's younger brother, comes as often as he can and brings food for june Bug and Angela to eat. Angela hardly eats. June Bug is often hungry. Toby brings things June Bug can fix for herself, sandwich fixings, canned soup, canned ravioli. June Bug loves to sit in a Copper Beech tree down the street from her house. Here, she watches Ziggy Karlo with his grandmother, Nana Jean. Nana Jean's house, like the other houses on Trowbridge Road (except June Bug's), is well kept, and Nana Jean cooks for Ziggy, runs her fingers through his hair to straighten it up for him, takes care of him. June sits up in the tree and watches in envy. Ziggy is so lucky. But it turns out Ziggy isn't so lucky. His mother has her own problems and is in a horrible relationship with an abusive man. Ziggy is living with his grandmother because his mother agreed it would be best for Ziggy to not be in such a volatile situation. At Ziggy's old school, he was bullied and picked on by other kids. Moving with Nana Jean to Trowbridge Road is supposed to give him a more stable life and a new chance at a new school. Ziggy notices June Bug watching him from the tree and joins her. They become best friends, sharing their pain in a way only a true friend can, being there for each other, and living their own imaginary life in the ninth dimension, where they can be anything or anyone they want, even dragons. Together with Ziggy and his pet ferret Matthew, June Bug finds friendship, comfort, and fun. Kids in the neighborhood are mean to Ziggy and June Bug, but June Bug fights back. They enjoy a whirlwind summer playing and talking, waiting for fall to return when they will attend the same school. Life has other ideas, and through a series of unfortunate events, their lives are shook up even more than they are. As the book ends, both are in a good place, and their mothers are working on improving themselves. This book is set in 1983, when the AIDS crisis was new and no one understood what caused it. Because of that, June Bug's mother is able to fear the virus coming from anywhere and everywhere. A woman who was already mentally fragile couldn't handle it. In a gentle but entertaining way, author Marcella Pixley dives into some societal issues that aren't addressed in a lot of children's books. This book is written for an audience of about 10-14, and I feel it is written very appropriately, explaining just enough and allowing for readers to discuss these issues with their parents. I also think this is timely, and a lot of readers may feel better to read about these characters because they have some of the same problems. Topics addressed are AIDS, closeted homosexuality, domestic violence, family turmoil, estranged families, bullying, and mental illness. It also addresses these issues from the point of view of the child experiencing the problem, and shows the consequences for the child. Most of all, I believe this book shows the redemptive power of love and forgiveness.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sheri

    Trowbridge Road by Marcella Pixley Set in 1983 in Boston, ten year old June Bug Joran is struggling with the loss of her Father from Aids. Her Mom is not (mentally) in the best place, as June Bug struggles to live a (somewhat) normal life. Along with her new best friend Ziggy, who lives with his grandmother (Nana Jean) the two rely on each other for support and try to cope with their trying times. A fantastic story dealing with the stigma of Aids, when it first became prevalent, and not much was k Trowbridge Road by Marcella Pixley Set in 1983 in Boston, ten year old June Bug Joran is struggling with the loss of her Father from Aids. Her Mom is not (mentally) in the best place, as June Bug struggles to live a (somewhat) normal life. Along with her new best friend Ziggy, who lives with his grandmother (Nana Jean) the two rely on each other for support and try to cope with their trying times. A fantastic story dealing with the stigma of Aids, when it first became prevalent, and not much was known about it. Mental illness is also approached, which takes a toll on everyone, and the damage that can occur when not addressed. The story moves at a steady pace, with attention to detail, true facts, well developed likable characters. Family is torn, hearts are broken, friendships are gained, life lessons are learned. Overall I found Trowbridge Road an emotional, compelling read, I highly recommend to all.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Grace

    The world is filled with trauma, and parents are not immune. Often, when adults have wounds that cannot heal, their children suffer. June Bug and Ziggy of Trowbridge Road have taken on the troubles of the adults in their lives and carry them in secret. Pixley's book about silent suffering spreads the important message that comfort and change can only be found in trusting others. Trowbridge Road is story that moves you with it's depiction of trauma, then lifts you with hope and healing.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rosi Hollinbeck

    It is the summer of 1983, and Ziggy is dropped off at his Nana Jean’s house. His mother is in and out of recovery, has an abusive boyfriend, and really can’t take care of him. Also, Nana Jean and Ziggy’s mother think a new start might stop Ziggy from being bullied for his long hair and odd ways. June Bug Jordan lives a few doors up the street, and her life is off the rails. Her father died from that new disease, AIDS, and her mother spends all her time scrubbing the house to get rid of all the g It is the summer of 1983, and Ziggy is dropped off at his Nana Jean’s house. His mother is in and out of recovery, has an abusive boyfriend, and really can’t take care of him. Also, Nana Jean and Ziggy’s mother think a new start might stop Ziggy from being bullied for his long hair and odd ways. June Bug Jordan lives a few doors up the street, and her life is off the rails. Her father died from that new disease, AIDS, and her mother spends all her time scrubbing the house to get rid of all the germs lurking everywhere. She is rapidly losing touch with reality and no longer cooks for June Bug. If it weren’t for Uncle Tony bringing groceries once each week, June Bug would starve. Ziggy and June Bug find each other and form a friendship, a magical friendship where they visit an imaginary kingdom where nothing can hurt them. But each day, June Bug must return to her home where her mother is hurting her in many ways. The real question is can June Bug find a way to save herself. Author Marcella Pixley has written a stunning middle-grade novel that will break readers' hearts over and over. June Bug and Ziggy are very true characters, believable and fully realized, and also very sympathetic. Readers will be cheering for these kids all the way through. The issues raised in this book — mental illness, addiction, abuse, and more — are, unfortunately, things many young people will relate to. The great news is the book also is filled with hope and love and permission to find resources to help readers who need that help. This is simply a terrific book with beautiful writing and great characters — a very compelling story not just for youngsters, but for all readers lucky enough to find it. Do not miss this book. I received an advanced reader copy of this book from the publisher in trade for an honest review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nikki Kohlmeier

    “Trowbridge Road” is just painfully exquisite. The author, Marcella Pixley, does a fantastic job of weaving trauma with childlike wonder, light and imagination, in a way that is just simply magnificent. This middle-grade read is difficult to read, and I cried as I read about what June Bug endures, and learned about what her new best friend, Ziggy, and his family have gone through as well. This story presents mental illness, the unknown aspects of AIDS in the 80s, abuse, and so much more in such “Trowbridge Road” is just painfully exquisite. The author, Marcella Pixley, does a fantastic job of weaving trauma with childlike wonder, light and imagination, in a way that is just simply magnificent. This middle-grade read is difficult to read, and I cried as I read about what June Bug endures, and learned about what her new best friend, Ziggy, and his family have gone through as well. This story presents mental illness, the unknown aspects of AIDS in the 80s, abuse, and so much more in such an honest and difficult way, and I truly appreciate that. Yet, Pixley shows us that the truth is complicated, and that love can be there in the midst of it. June Bug’s Dad has recently died of AIDS and her mother is suffering from a mental breakdown, as things that she always struggled with have come to the surface with a vengeance. June is scarcely fed, and if she is it is only because her wonderful uncle has brought food. There are so many painful things that June deals with, due to her mother’s mental state, but she loves her mother dearly, and her mother truly does love her, although she is incapable of taking care of her. Ziggy now lives with his grandmother, and can relate to June so well because he has experienced his own hardships at home with his mother Jenny. Jenny too loves Ziggy but is unable to care for him as she should. Ziggy has been bullied relentlessly and wants nothing more than to be loved for who he is. The friends understand each other on a level that few could, and found each other when both needed a friend so badly. They create a magical make believe world together and it is extraordinary to see their love and compassion for one another. “Trowbridge Road” is an exceptional and important read, but it is heavy and sad. The love of friends and family does shine through, and I loved this book so much.

  8. 5 out of 5

    River

    Trowbridge Road by Marcella Pixley takes place in 1983 during the early days of the AIDS epidemic, when not much was known about the disease. June Bug Jordan's father contracted the illness and passed away, leaving her with a frantic mother who fears germs and won't leave the house after his passing. They spend hours cleaning the "disgustingness" around the house, using bleached, and going through many pairs of latex gloves. If June gets very dirty, she must bathe in hot bleach water. One day June Trowbridge Road by Marcella Pixley takes place in 1983 during the early days of the AIDS epidemic, when not much was known about the disease. June Bug Jordan's father contracted the illness and passed away, leaving her with a frantic mother who fears germs and won't leave the house after his passing. They spend hours cleaning the "disgustingness" around the house, using bleached, and going through many pairs of latex gloves. If June gets very dirty, she must bathe in hot bleach water. One day June befriends Ziggy, a boy who moves in with his Nana Jean when his mother doesn't feel she can take care of him anymore, due to him being bullied, and her having her own issues. He has a really big imagination, and offers June a beautiful friendship where the two of them can get away from the world and all their problems. There is a big theme of love, of people caring for other people even though they themselves are going through hard times. That's what is really at the heart of this book. The love shown to June was so achingly beautiful, and the ending made my heart swell. It was my favorite kind of book to read as a middle grade kid, and it is still my favorite. I found myself empathizing deeply with these characters. I found myself moved to tears. Trowbridge Road shows that there can be love and hope in the darkest of times. *I won an advance review copy through LibraryThing in exchange for my honest opinion **This review also appears on my blog.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Thanks to Candlewick Press for this advanced copy, out in May. With lessons to learn from the past, Marcella Pixley has written a poignant story from the summer of '83, a Boston suburb centering on one street, Trowbridge Road. Here is a seemingly quiet and friendly street, neighbors gather to barbeque together, children ride bikes up and down, up and down. Some are friendly; others peek out of windows, like June Bug Jordan's mother. She is living a lie with her mother since her father died of AI Thanks to Candlewick Press for this advanced copy, out in May. With lessons to learn from the past, Marcella Pixley has written a poignant story from the summer of '83, a Boston suburb centering on one street, Trowbridge Road. Here is a seemingly quiet and friendly street, neighbors gather to barbeque together, children ride bikes up and down, up and down. Some are friendly; others peek out of windows, like June Bug Jordan's mother. She is living a lie with her mother since her father died of AIDS. Her mother is mentally ill and June Bug keeps all the secrets, but she does venture into the neighborhood, watching families from up in a tree, wishing some were her own. A boy named Ziggy has moved in with his grandmother because of his own family troubles and together, they find solace in their imaginations and support for each other. June Bug reaches a moment where she must choose to tell, for her own and for her mother's survival. The writing that shows the imagination of children trying to survive takes one's breath away. Also to be admired is the sympathy for those touched by mental illness and grief. It's full of heartbreak and a wish that life didn't happen this way for children, but also hope for better as adults step forward to help.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    In 1983, AIDS was a mysterious disease that baffled the medical community. At that time, it meant a certain death and June Bug Jordan's dad died from it. Now, her mother has sunk deeper and deeper into mental illness. Her mother won't leave the house, everything (including June Bug) must be scoured with clorox, and Uncle Toby is the only one that brings food into the house. June Bug needs to get out of the house and she meets an odd, yet imaginative boy, Ziggy who is living with his Nana Jean. Z In 1983, AIDS was a mysterious disease that baffled the medical community. At that time, it meant a certain death and June Bug Jordan's dad died from it. Now, her mother has sunk deeper and deeper into mental illness. Her mother won't leave the house, everything (including June Bug) must be scoured with clorox, and Uncle Toby is the only one that brings food into the house. June Bug needs to get out of the house and she meets an odd, yet imaginative boy, Ziggy who is living with his Nana Jean. Ziggy's mother also has problems, big ones, that prevent Ziggy from living with her. Together June Bug and Ziggy create a magical fantasy world, Majestica, which transport them away from their worries and problems. However, we all know that real-life problems don't magically go away. Secrets are ultimately exposed, families are torn apart with the hope of being put back together again, and grief and sorrow get mixed up with love. Trowbridge Road is one powerful story which will connect you with the characters who are crisply portrayed. Mental illness is realistically and brutally pictured and yet there is hope. I give this book 4 1/2 stars. Thank you to LibraryThing Early Reviewers, Candlewick Press, and Marcella Pixley for this ARC.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. June Bug Jordan has secrets to hide. So do many people who live in her Newton Highland town. Her father died of AIDS and her mother has lost her grip on reality, constantly scrubbing away "disgustingness" - baths of chlorox bleach, scrubbing her skin with a scrub brush. Her mental illness started before her husband died but has gotten to the point where she won't leave the house and doesn't feed June Bug. June Bug finds a friend in Ziggy - left with his grandma Nana Jean by his mother Jenny. Ever June Bug Jordan has secrets to hide. So do many people who live in her Newton Highland town. Her father died of AIDS and her mother has lost her grip on reality, constantly scrubbing away "disgustingness" - baths of chlorox bleach, scrubbing her skin with a scrub brush. Her mental illness started before her husband died but has gotten to the point where she won't leave the house and doesn't feed June Bug. June Bug finds a friend in Ziggy - left with his grandma Nana Jean by his mother Jenny. Everyone has secrets: Nana Jean, Jenny, Ziggy, June Bug's dad. Some are not quite as hidden (people knew her dad was gay). Uncle Toby is the only one who can come into June Bug's house - brings her food, takes her to school. But he doesn't know the extent of the problem. The children find kindred spirits in each other and travel to a magical land - Majestica - in an abandoned farmhouse site. There is mental illness, alcoholism, abuse, and also love and friendship, as the children and grownups sort through their histories and make things right for the children

  12. 4 out of 5

    June Schwarz

    Stunning, realistic, and beautifully written, Trowbridge Road is a story of grief, mental illness, isolation and love. This novel rings true in every respect. June’s isolation and grief over her father’s death and her relationship with her mother were so well portrayed that the reader can’t help but feel overwhelmed along with her, and Ziggy and his Nana, June’s Uncle Toby, and June’s mother are all perfectly-realized. The handling of both the early days of AIDS and of Obsessive Compulsive Disor Stunning, realistic, and beautifully written, Trowbridge Road is a story of grief, mental illness, isolation and love. This novel rings true in every respect. June’s isolation and grief over her father’s death and her relationship with her mother were so well portrayed that the reader can’t help but feel overwhelmed along with her, and Ziggy and his Nana, June’s Uncle Toby, and June’s mother are all perfectly-realized. The handling of both the early days of AIDS and of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder are excellent. I recommend this book to both young readers looking for a story which revolves around relatable characters and to grown up readers who lived through the early 1980’s and may see themselves or people they loved in the characters in this novel. I received an advance copy of Trowbridge Road from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    This heart breaking read is set in the 1980’s when little about AIDS was yet understood. June Bug is surrounded by reminders of the disease that took her father. Her one shining light comes via an imaginative kid down the street, Ziggy. Ziggy and June soon become inseparable as they leave their troubles and emotional scars behind them for new worlds they’ve dreamed up. This childhood perspective of mental health, emotional scars and complicated families is strikingly heartwarming, tender and rea This heart breaking read is set in the 1980’s when little about AIDS was yet understood. June Bug is surrounded by reminders of the disease that took her father. Her one shining light comes via an imaginative kid down the street, Ziggy. Ziggy and June soon become inseparable as they leave their troubles and emotional scars behind them for new worlds they’ve dreamed up. This childhood perspective of mental health, emotional scars and complicated families is strikingly heartwarming, tender and real. Pixley does a great job of keeping the focus on the bigger issues within the story, not losing the reader to the imaginative worlds spun by Ziggy and June. The supporting characters all add a welcome layer to this read. *Disclaimer: A review copy was provided by the publisher. All opinions are my own.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Noreen Trotsky

    A heart wrenching story of two children who live on the same road whose lives are affected by a family members' mental illness. Taking place in 1983 when AIDS is just appearing, June Bug and her mother have lost her father to the disease. Her mother's life spirals out of control believing germs are everywhere and refuses to eat or leave the house. Down the block, Ziggy is living with his Nana Jean when his mother feels she can no longer care for him. Ziggy and June Bug meet and escape through fan A heart wrenching story of two children who live on the same road whose lives are affected by a family members' mental illness. Taking place in 1983 when AIDS is just appearing, June Bug and her mother have lost her father to the disease. Her mother's life spirals out of control believing germs are everywhere and refuses to eat or leave the house. Down the block, Ziggy is living with his Nana Jean when his mother feels she can no longer care for him. Ziggy and June Bug meet and escape through fantasy. A hard, but truthful, look at mental illness and how it affects not only the person experiencing it, but also their loved ones. Very plot-driven, the characters are well-developed through their emotions and actions. 4.5 Stars I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher in trade for an honest review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    This book was made for middle-schoolers, but it could be enjoyed by any age. As an adult, I was able to realize some of the more saddening factors of the book, like boys calling other boys “fairies” and June’s mother forcing her to scrub herself with bleach. I don’t know if a middle schooler would understand the severity of these issues, but I do think they would realize it was wrong. There was such a sadness I felt while reading about June’s dad’s death, how June’s mom treated her, how the neig This book was made for middle-schoolers, but it could be enjoyed by any age. As an adult, I was able to realize some of the more saddening factors of the book, like boys calling other boys “fairies” and June’s mother forcing her to scrub herself with bleach. I don’t know if a middle schooler would understand the severity of these issues, but I do think they would realize it was wrong. There was such a sadness I felt while reading about June’s dad’s death, how June’s mom treated her, how the neighborhood kids bullied June and Ziggy, and Ziggy’s trauma with his mother and her boyfriend. But, the experiences are realistic, and youth can relate to the book. This novel was just beautiful, from the content to the specific word choices. This book gets a perfect score from me.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Leigh

    I received this ARC from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. June Bug Jordan keeps watch over the neighborhood from her perch on the copper beech tree. When Ziggy's mom drops him off at Nana Jean's, she's instantly captivated by this strange boy with the long red hair, and the albino ferret dancing around his shoulders. The two are fast, if unlikely, friends - something they both desperately need. Each is keeping secrets from home lives others can't imagine. There wer I received this ARC from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. June Bug Jordan keeps watch over the neighborhood from her perch on the copper beech tree. When Ziggy's mom drops him off at Nana Jean's, she's instantly captivated by this strange boy with the long red hair, and the albino ferret dancing around his shoulders. The two are fast, if unlikely, friends - something they both desperately need. Each is keeping secrets from home lives others can't imagine. There were portions of this book that were hard to read. My heart broke for June and my stomach lurched as I read some of the cleaning rituals. I am so grateful for the real Uncle Tobys and Nana Jeans of the world.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Annarella

    I loved this poignant and heart wrenching story. It's well written and you cannot help feeling for the characters and their sufferance. There's a lot of heavy topic in this story (AIDS, homosexuality, mental issues) but there is also friendship and hope. It moved me to tears and it made me smile, it was an engrossing and fascinating read. Highly recommended. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.

  18. 4 out of 5

    April

    Trowbridge Road By Marcella Pixley 2020 A LibraryThing Early Reviewers Book. This book takes the setting of Summer 1983 in a nice small town neighborhood to tell the heartbreaking story of a child dealing with the death of a parent, a parent's fears and mental illness, and the secrets families' keep. The author also shares the power that friendship and imagination have to help protect a child in grave need. 4 1/2 Stars.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Hurray for the outliers, hurray for the helpers, hurray for the dreamers in this very special novel for middle-grade readers! If you love stories with a lot of heart, and a heaping helping of perseverance, then you will love accompanying June Bug and Ziggy on their raggedy (and part-fantastic) journey to not just survival, but connectedness, too.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    Great story about the summer of '83, hard to believe that is historical fiction! Ziggy's mom leaves him with his nana right who lives on the same street where June is navigating her life after her father dies of AIDS. The two become friends and navigate their dysfunctional families together. Great story of hope and compassion. Couldn't put it down.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kim Piddington

    Reminded me of the classic Bridge to Terabithia. Loved the characters and their belief in the magical world they created to escape the pain in their lives.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Really liked this but pretty upsetting to read at this exact moment in time, to be honest. (So much fear of germs and constant, debilitating disinfecting.)

  23. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    It’s been a while since I’ve read middle grade and I’m so glad I read this—so, so real, heartbreaking, and good

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Netgalley June Bug Jordan's life is complicated. It's 1983, and her musician father has recently passed away from complications of AIDS. Her mother, who mental health has always been fragile, has retreated to her upstairs bedroom because she is afraid of germs coming into the house. Her Uncle Toby stops by the house with groceries and supplies, but not often enough, and June Bug is hungry. Her mother is just not eating. When her uncle visits, they have to spend from two hours to E ARC provided by Netgalley June Bug Jordan's life is complicated. It's 1983, and her musician father has recently passed away from complications of AIDS. Her mother, who mental health has always been fragile, has retreated to her upstairs bedroom because she is afraid of germs coming into the house. Her Uncle Toby stops by the house with groceries and supplies, but not often enough, and June Bug is hungry. Her mother is just not eating. When her uncle visits, they have to spend from two hours to the entire day disinfecting the house. When June Bug goes outside, her mother will occasionally feel that she is infected, and will make her take a scalding hot bath with bleach and a scrub brush, which causes painful skin damage. When Ziggy moves in next door to live with his Nana Jean because his mother Jenny is unstable, June Bug hopes that he will be her friend. She doesn't care that he has long hair and that the neighbor boys call him a fairy. The two start to hang out and support each other. As her mother's condition worsens, June start to carry a back pack with necessities like a vegetable peeler she uses to scrape infection from her hands and rubbing alcohol to pour over them. Even this is not enough, and luckily she has the support of Nana Jean and her uncle when everything comes crashing down. Strengths: There are very few depictions of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, and it was certainly a very significant historical occurrence that has impact today. The current literary climate is showcasing more and more books with depictions of mental health struggles, and this has several; the mother, Jenny (who has relationship problems and feelings of self doubt), and Ziggy (who is gender nonconforming, but is not given a label). The father is show to be gay in a very short scene that describes him coming home from a gig with a man and kissing him, which will be fine for middle school audiences It's good to see that Nana Jean and Uncle Toby are supportive and helpful. This is an #ownvoices story; the author has written a good piece about the for Middle Grade Book Village. Weaknesses: This is very, very sad. Sensitive readers might be upset by the depiction of "sanitizing"herself that June Bug does. What I really think: I wish this had had more details about daily life in 1983, or more details about the AIDS virus and the discussions that arose at the time.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    This is a powerful novel about mental illness, grief, and friendship. Set in 1983, June Bug's dad has died from AIDS and her mother spends most of her time in her room or cleaning the germs that she fears may put her and June in danger of getting sick. June befriends Ziggy, a boy who has moved in to the neighborhood and is dealing with his own family challenges. Their friendship gives each other an escape from their problems, but also the strength and courage to face and work through their strug This is a powerful novel about mental illness, grief, and friendship. Set in 1983, June Bug's dad has died from AIDS and her mother spends most of her time in her room or cleaning the germs that she fears may put her and June in danger of getting sick. June befriends Ziggy, a boy who has moved in to the neighborhood and is dealing with his own family challenges. Their friendship gives each other an escape from their problems, but also the strength and courage to face and work through their struggles.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie

  27. 4 out of 5

    Emmaj

  28. 5 out of 5

    Pernille Ripp

  29. 5 out of 5

    Gayle

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

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