JoEllen is suffering from an identity crisis. Her parents have divorced and she is forced to spend her time split between two places- her mom’s home in the city and her dad’s new home on a farm in the country. During her time with her mom, she is called Ellen, plays her saxophone and hangs out with her friends. While with her dad, her nickname changes to Joey and she prefers riding horses and hanging out with her cousin, Hayden. After awhile, JoEllen becomes confused as to who she really is. Whether Ellen or Joey, she doesn’t feel herself any longer and begins searching to find out just where she belongs and who the real JoEllen is.
In 42 Miles, Tracie Vaughn Zimmer has created a quick read that I’m sure many children of divorce will be able to relate to. Told in linked free verse poems, middle graders will be able to enjoy a writing style different from typical novels, yet still telling a story.