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An upcoming essay contest, writing poetry, and reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X all help Roberta cope with the various difficulties she’s experiencing in her life, including her parent’s troubled marriage. But when she’s told she’s ineligible to compete in the school’s essay contest, her explosive reaction to the news leads to a confrontation with her mother, who shares some family truths Roberta isn’t ready for.
Set against the backdrop of Watergate and the post-civil rights movement era, Malcolm and Me is a gritty yet graceful examination of the anguish teens experience when their growing awareness of themselves and the world around them unravels their sense of security—a coming-of-age tale of truth-telling, faith, family, forgiveness, and social activism.
Farmer has created a timely and relevant story, peopled with realistic characters. Many readers will discover much about themselves alongside Roberta, as they travel with her on her journey of self-discovery. We need more characters - in books and in real life - as strong and as willing to speak up as Roberta is. – Padma Venkatraman, Award-winning author of The Bridge Home
Roberta’s Afro may have gotten her off on the wrong foot with Sister Elizabeth, but calling Thomas Jefferson a hypocrite led to the melee that got her suspended. Readers will root for Roberta as she musters the courage to take a stand in this rollicking debut by award-winning journalist Robin Farmer. Rich and poignant, at times both funny and blasphemous, Malcolm and Me is set in 1973 but reveals how relevant Malcolm X’s words remain today. – A.B. Westrick, author of Brotherhood
"From her electric opening, Farmer gifts us a story so necessary and so compelling, I found myself weeping for the 13 year old girl inside of me who didn't get to read this stunning novel. Set in 1970's Philadelphia against the backdrop of American political upheaval and her parents' languishing marriage, Roberta submits to a close reading of The Autobiography of Malcolm X and soon after begins a social awakening that rivals that of Huck Finn's. Roberta is witty and bright and perfect in all the imperfect ways of a new teen who feels so deeply and who cannot help but to impetuously react to a world she cannot control. There is so much to love about this treasure box that is Malcolm and Me. Farmer delivers a smart and timeless story that brilliantly captures the teenage angst of not only 1970's America but of today, while managing to offer laughter and love in equal measure." – Lauren Francis-Sharma, author of 'Til the Well Runs Dry