Jennifer Chan Is Not Alone

What’s wrong?

In JENNIFER CHAN IS NOT ALONE, 12-year-old Mallory Moss knows that adaptation is the key to surviving in middle school. Thanks to her friends Regan and Tess, Mallory knows what’s cool and what’s not. But over the summer, Mallory befriends her new neighbor, Jennifer Chen, who believes in aliens and is determined to find her. Although the two girls hooked up over the summer, Mallory watched her classmates make fun of Jennifer and occasionally engage in bullying. After Jennifer disappeared, Mallory asked her and her friends if Jennifer was on the run. Using clues in Jennifer’s notebook, Mallory and several former friends search for their missing classmates and learn more about themselves, their friends, and aliens.

What’s good?

Tae Keller’s powerful and moving coming-of-age novel about bullying and friendship is a must-read for teens. It’s tough at school as a freshman, but even more so when people alienate you because of your passions and interests. However, Jennifer is a breath of fresh air. Even when others pretend to be her friends, she is confident and not afraid to be herself.

Jennifer Chen isn’t alone in making an excellent transition between Mallory’s past and present perspectives, and offers several examples of Mallory’s discomfort with all bullying. Readers are frustrated when she chooses to remain silent, but they love it when she finally takes responsibility for her actions and learns that actions speak louder than words. As Mallory seeks out Jennifer and wonders what it means to be a good person, children see the importance of courage, curiosity, kindness, and forgiveness as she makes up for herself and others.

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