Monday's Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson
Overview: When Monday isn't there for a spinning hug with Claudia when she gets back from her summer in Georgia, Claudia knows something is wrong. When Monday isn't at the first, second, or third day of eighth grade, Claudia tells her parents they need to do something. But Monday lives in the projects with her single mother and her situation isn't something people talk about. It's Patti's business what she does with her kids. But when the stories about Monday's whereabouts keep changing and the police refuse to look into it, Claudia has to take matters into her own hands to find Monday. Overall: 4.5
Characters: 5 The characters bound off the page. Claudia's voice is so strong, and her friendship with Monday is so honest. From the parents to her teachers to Monday herself, Claudia makes the characters around her come to life. Even minor characters have motivations and details.
Plot: 4 My advice is to ignore the chapter headings when you start because they will confuse you. They're there for Jackson's signature, turn the book on it's head, big twist toward the end of the book. They made it hard for me, though, at first, to figure out what the timeline in the story was. But I went with it, and it was certainly interesting.
The story is about a crime, but it's mostly about how people are treated because of where they live, how much money they have, or who there parents are even once you get past racial barriers. Seeing Monday's story through Claudia's not privileged, but more privileged, eyes really drives this point home. This is the perfect story for someone into true crime who doesn't want the "who done it" "murderer on the loose" feel. While it's very sad, it's nice to see a fictionalized version of a case getting so much attention and humanization.
Writing: 5 Jackson has a VOICE. The novel is so atmospheric, it's easy to fall into and feel like you're living in the moment, right there with Claudia. Even though most of the story is focused on her eighth grade year, I like that this story is a more mature YA piece. It's not focused on the typical adolescent experience, but it's a unique story and one that needs shared. It makes me excited to dive into my ARC of Jackson's third book since her writing is only getting stronger.