Told with wit and charm, Salom’s debut is sure to make readers think and laugh. Bonus: the novel includes a positive and authentic portrayal of a character who is hearing-impaired. VERDICT: In the same vein as R.J. Palacio’s breakout hit Wonder, this charming middle grade debut will strike a chord with readers who enjoy realistic fiction with depth.
-School Library Journal

 

This is the story of a girl with a blue fedora.

(blue fedora)

(blue fedora)

On her first day of sixth grade, Kyle Constantini wears her blue fedora—but it doesn’t seem to do any good. She still ends up in a different homeroom from her two best friends Brooke and Sheroo. She still tussles with a gargantuan bully called Doublefart who is messing with the new transfer student from a school for the deaf. She still ends up in the principal’s office. (Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.)

KYLE FINDS HER WAY is a book that hangs out on more than one level. On the one hand, it is the story of a girl who gets assigned to a team competing in NAVS (Navigating Actions and Values for Solutions) where she and her teammates (including the cute new English boy) must lead a blindfolded member wearing ear plugs through a maze. On the other, it is the story of a girl finding her way through the increasingly-complicated labyrinth of relating to friends, crushes, bullies, parents, teachers, principals and—most crucially—herself.

Follow Kyle as she discovers the truth about sticky situations and does her level best to act in a way that is consistent with what, in her heart, she really believes—all with the guidance of a special blue fedora and the inspiration of everything from her coach’s T’ai Chi lessons and the ancient practices of Polynesian wayfinders to echolocation and the true-blue support of her a-maze-ing friends.

 

cover

AAL Books/Scholastic; October 2016

 

Kyle’s narration cleverly but unconsciously interweaves the wise messages she learns from tai chi in gym class with her growing self-awareness. Her conflicts with her friends and her parents are well-realized and believable, and her voice has a subtle edge of humor and self-deprecation that enlivens the presentation. Amusing, engaging, and honest, Kyle and her struggles and successes will be familiar to many middle school girls.
-Kirkus Reviews

 

Susie Salom’s debut novel features a quick-witted, good-hearted heroine. Questions of friendship, devotion, truth, communication, teamwork, and success are explored with humor and candor. The only disappointment with this appealing story is that it comes to an end. Highly recommended.
-Children’s Literature

 

In this empowering coming-of-age story, Kyle Constantini begins sixth grade secure in her friendships with pals Sheroo and Brooke, but complications quickly arise. Kyle navigates problems with help from wise teachers and insight from friends, eventually coming to better understand herself and the people around her. Debut author Salom offers some intriguing ideas about connections that transcend verbal communication, which should leave readers with plenty to think about.
-Publishers Weekly

 

Sixth-grade female angst rings true in this debut novel. Salom has Kyle tell the story and uses fantastic dialogue to let this coming-of-age story shine. Middle-grade readers will relate to Kyle’s missteps and the frequently overwhelming environment of middle school.
-Booklist

 

“Kyle” explores a familiar subject — starting middle school — with warmth and vibrancy. Kyle is a character that sticks with you after you’ve finished reading.
-El Paso Times