Saturday 17 February 2018

BOOK REVIEW: Azalea, Unschooled by Liza Kleinman

Azalea, Unschooled
Author: Liza Kleinman
Genre: Children's Fiction
Publication Date: 25th May 2015

Book Description:
In Pennsylvania, it was a clothing boutique for pets. Then a breakfast buffet in North Carolina. Then an apple orchard in Connecticut. Now, Azalea’s dad says he’s going to drive a tour bus in Portland, Maine. Through all those moves, Azalea and her older sister were homeschooled by their mom. But when they move to Portland, Azalea’s mom asks them to try unschooling—a method of learning that gives children more freedom to direct their own education. As the sisters struggle to find a delicate new balance, their world is rocked when someone sabotages Dad’s tour bus. Azalea decides it is up to her to find the culprit and hold her family together. In her fresh and funny debut middlereader novel, Liza Kleinman deftly explores the new unschooling movement as well as the challenges of moving to a new home, making friends, and finding room for differences within a family.

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Azalea and her family just moved to town and almost immediately she makes an enemy, who she later believes vandalised her Dad's tour bus as a message for Azalea and her family to get out of town. As if trying to make new friends and dealing with a threat wasn't challenging enough, Azalea's parents suggest that her and her sister try unschooling - "a natural, child-driven exploation off the world". As Azalea goes about finding the culprit who's been terrorising her family, she learns that not all is as it seems and that the problem is a lot closer to home than she first realised.

This was a good read. It took me a while to get into it and really enjoy the story. Honestly, I found the first half of the book a little boring, but it picked up in the second half, and the story won me over in the end. Azalea is an engaging and vibrant character who is easy to relate to. I don't think I'll be continuing the series, but I am glad I got the chance to read this book. There ae some good lessons to be learned here, some good themes explored.


Award: Silver
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
Source: Own copy

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