My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich by Ibi Zoboi is a juvenile fiction book, probably most appropriate for 5-7 graders.
It’s the summer of 1984 and 12-year-old Ebony-Grace Norfleet is forced to leave her home of Huntsville, Alabama to visit her father in Harlem. Ebony-Grace has absolutely no interest in visiting “No Joke City” and the evil “King Julius Sirius.” She’d rather stay home with her grandfather and visit their “imagination locations” together. But when some trouble arises with her grandfather, Ebony-Grace’s mother brooks no argument and sends her on her way north.
Ebony-Grace, or Captain Starfleet as she prefers to go by, has a hard time separating her imagination from reality, which makes it difficult to adjust to Harlem and make friends. She pushes away every attempt at friendship, preferring to live in the world she created in her mind. But Harlem is out of this world in more ways than one.
Will Captain Starfleet adjust to her new normal or will she crash and burn?
Phew, I did not know what I was getting into when I picked this one up. From the very first page, it almost feels like your reading another language. Ebony-Grace’s imagination location is seriously intense and it took me several good chapters to be able to look past the imagined to make sense of the story.
That being said, maybe it just wasn’t the book for me. I had a hard time getting into the characters and when I finally did, I felt like things tied up too cleanly or were not resolved at all. This book is meant for kids and even I, a 30+ year old woman, am still not sure what the grandfather got in trouble for, which really nags at me.
This book does have a lot going for it. It is definitely unique and if you know your history, it has all the bits and pieces of the time period and I just loved the reference to disastrous Challenger mission, yet to occur in the story, at the end.
Unfortunately, it was just too hard to get into, so for me, it gets a very mediocre three stars.
That’s all for now!