My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich

My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich

National Book Award-finalist Ibi Zoboi makes her middle-grade debut with a moving story of a girl finding her place in a world that's changing at warp speed.Twelve-year-old Ebony-Grace Norfleet has lived with her beloved grandfather Jeremiah in Huntsville, Alabama ever since she was little. As one of the first black engineers to integrate NASA, Jeremiah has nurtured Ebony-...

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Title:My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich
Author:Ibi Zoboi
Rating:
Edition Language:English

My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich Reviews

  • Kim

    I’ve always been kind of partial to ice cream sandwiches.

    Ebony-Grace is given the derogatory nickname when the girls in her dad’s Harlem neighborhood decide she doesn’t have the “flava” to have one of their more delectable names.

    Ebony-Grace (aka Space Cadet E-Grace Starfleet) has been raised by her mother and wealthy grandfather in Alabama. Her grandfather was one of the first black engineers employed by NASA, and he has nurtured her dreams of being the first kid in space, and her very active im

    I’ve always been kind of partial to ice cream sandwiches.

    Ebony-Grace is given the derogatory nickname when the girls in her dad’s Harlem neighborhood decide she doesn’t have the “flava” to have one of their more delectable names.

    Ebony-Grace (aka Space Cadet E-Grace Starfleet) has been raised by her mother and wealthy grandfather in Alabama. Her grandfather was one of the first black engineers employed by NASA, and he has nurtured her dreams of being the first kid in space, and her very active imagination— to the point that she uses that imagination as an escape when life gets too hard.

    And life is definitely hard. In 1984, the summer before she enters middle school, something is going on with her grandfather, and her mother sends her off to her dad, who thinks that she’s been too coddled in the south and that Harlem’s energy will do his daughter good. Her kind-of friend Bianca, with whom she connected a few years ago, is more interested in boys than in space make-believe, and quickly grows impatient with Ebony-Grace. As the initial week that Ebony-Grace THOUGHT she was staying for turns into the whole summer, our girl has to learn how to do some serious navigating.

    What I love about this? The way that Zoboi GETS the awkward kids, the kids on the outskirts, and unapologetically makes this a story about the geeky black girl in a time (how is it that 1984 was 35 years ago?..) when so many kids and adults didn’t get where she was coming from— but a few of them did.

    Beautiful and awkward and necessary.

  • Erika

    For someone who's not into science fiction, I enjoyed this story. Ebony-Grace is definitely a little weird to me, but what really is normal? Fans of SUNNY by Jason Reynolds will enjoy this quirky, Star Trek loving pre-teen. While I'm not a huge fan of Star Trek or sci-fi, I appreciated that this novel was set in the years of my childhood so I could relate to the references and the protagonist often reminded me of one of my favorite films set in Brooklyn.

  • Monica **can't read fast enough**

    MY LIFE AS AN ICE CREAM SANDWICH is a unique take on what it's like for a young Black girl who would rather live in her imagination than in reality to be uprooted from all that she knows and finds comfortable to be put in situations that are unfamiliar, uncomfortable, and at times overwhelming. Ebony-Grace is faced with the mysterious trouble that her grandfather finds himself in and like many children she is left to only guess and piece together what that trouble is instead of being told by an

    MY LIFE AS AN ICE CREAM SANDWICH is a unique take on what it's like for a young Black girl who would rather live in her imagination than in reality to be uprooted from all that she knows and finds comfortable to be put in situations that are unfamiliar, uncomfortable, and at times overwhelming. Ebony-Grace is faced with the mysterious trouble that her grandfather finds himself in and like many children she is left to only guess and piece together what that trouble is instead of being told by an adult in a way that she could understand. Since she is already extremely introverted and feels more comfortable retreating into her own imagination, it's no surprise that the way she copes with stress is to disassociate from all of the new strangeness by going into a world of her own making.

    Ebony-Grace is socially awkward and the way in which she copes is maybe a bit more intense but not to the point where she isn't reachable. Ebony-Grace is a child who handles things in an age appropriate way. I'm happy that Zoboi chose not to make Ebony-Grace behave and react in a way that would suggest that she is more mature and worldly than a 7th grader should be. Black children are not inherently 'grown' by virtue of their blackness. Letting Ebony-Grace be first and foremost a child with childish behavior is, at least for me, a positive in this story not a negative character flaw of a child who hasn't even hit puberty yet.

    Zoboi's writing is atmospheric. She incorporates 1980's pop culture in an engaging and enjoyable way. I'm not sure how well today's middle grader will get the Star Trek references, but I enjoyed them. I will also say that this cover, the story, and the idea of a little Black girl dreaming of a world among the stars where she can be the problem solver and not the problem is something that I am more than happy to have experienced. I will be buying a finished copy for my 10 year old niece.

  • Ms. Yingling

    ARC provided by Follett First Look

    Ebony-Grace has a comfortable life in Alabama in 1984 with her mother and her grandfather, who was an engineer for NASA. When things start to go wrong with her grandfather, she is sent to visit with her father in Harlem. He runs an auto repair shop and loves his vibrant, if sometimes struggling, neighborhood. He thinks that Ebony should fit in well with the local children, who listen to rap music and are given a lot of freedom. Ebony, however, has had a sheltere

    ARC provided by Follett First Look

    Ebony-Grace has a comfortable life in Alabama in 1984 with her mother and her grandfather, who was an engineer for NASA. When things start to go wrong with her grandfather, she is sent to visit with her father in Harlem. He runs an auto repair shop and loves his vibrant, if sometimes struggling, neighborhood. He thinks that Ebony should fit in well with the local children, who listen to rap music and are given a lot of freedom. Ebony, however, has had a sheltered childhood, and she and her grandfather spent a lot of time watching Star Trek and other science fiction stories, and also created their own worlds, where she is E-Grace Starfleet and he is Captain Fleet. She had played with her neighbor, whom she called "Bianca Pluto", but Bianca has moved on to the world of lip gloss and her crew, the Nine Flavas, where the members all have ice cream names. Ebony is dubbed a plain "ice cream sandwich", and Bianca is mortified when Ebony wears boys' super hero short sets and pretends to deflect the words of the crew with her Wonder Woman bracelets, complete with "pew! pew!" sound effects. As the situation with her grandfather worsens but isn't explained to her, Ebony plots her trip home, even taking the money that her grandfather has sent for a visit from her father. Since her Uncle Richard, who lives in the brownstone as well, has some issues with women, and possibly drugs and hot merchandise, Ebony's father accuses him of taking the money. Bianca's crew is trying to compete in a double-dutch and rap competition, and Ebony doesn't quite understand what they are doing, and manages to make a mess when she tries to contribute. In the end, Ebony makes some progress in accepting life in Harlem, although she must go back to Huntsville to deal with a family tragedy.

    Strengths: I loved the 1984 Harlem setting, and the descriptions of the street life, as well as the dance competition, was fascinating. The north-south dichotomy of Black life is well depicted, and it's interesting that the Southern life in Ebony's case is more affluent. The inclusion of NASA history and the Black pioneers in the field is great. Bianca's family is a good support for Ebony, taking her to church and watching out for her as she lives a typically 1980s latch key child life; her father doesn't enroll her in all of the summer camps her mother suggests! The cover is fantastic, and I love that this is set in the city but is not "gritty". There are a few comic strip style panels throughout the book that tell Ebony's sci fi version of her life.

    Weaknesses: Ebony's "imagination" was so intertwined with her real life experiences that at several points I thought there would be a discussion of some mental issues. It often made understanding scenes difficult, since Ebony's space adventures were interposed with what was actually happening. Also, the print in the ARC is smaller than usual for middle grade novels; I always feel weird mentioning this, but I can't tell you the number of times I hand a book to a student and it's handed back because the print is "too small".

    What I really think: Really debating and may wait to see a finished copy before purchasing.

  • Chyann

    A lot of culture wrapped up in this one that I can get behind. There were also some sci-fi references that went over my head. The voice is super youthful, which for the most part is why I could not relate. That being said, this is definitely fitted for middle grades and I can see this connecting with young nerds of color!

  • Hannah Greendale

    DNF at page 14. Twelve-year-old Ebony-Grace Norfleet is a confusing narrator and a pretty unlikeable character right out the gate. Her thoughts are so broken by her imagination that her narrative feels disjointed. There’s not much here in the way of setting, tone, or voice that suggests this book is intended for middle-graders.

    Really disappointed not to have loved this, because the premise (a nerd-centric seventh-grader from Alabama, whose love of space and science-fiction stems from her grandf

    DNF at page 14. Twelve-year-old Ebony-Grace Norfleet is a confusing narrator and a pretty unlikeable character right out the gate. Her thoughts are so broken by her imagination that her narrative feels disjointed. There’s not much here in the way of setting, tone, or voice that suggests this book is intended for middle-graders.

    Really disappointed not to have loved this, because the premise (a nerd-centric seventh-grader from Alabama, whose love of space and science-fiction stems from her grandfather who was “

    ,” spends the summer with her daddy in Harlem, New York) held such promise.

    -

    *Note: Quote taken from an Advanced Reading Copy.

  • Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)

    I truly wish I could have liked this but it’s glacially slow moving and at times makes absolutely no sense. There is no real clear answer when it comes to Ebony-Grace. At times it seems like she might be autistic but nothing is ever confirmed so her character seems petulant and far, far younger than she is supposed to be. The adults are infuriating and the other kids are somehow worse. I can’t imagine any part of this book would work well for a middle grade audience considering how layered it is

    I truly wish I could have liked this but it’s glacially slow moving and at times makes absolutely no sense. There is no real clear answer when it comes to Ebony-Grace. At times it seems like she might be autistic but nothing is ever confirmed so her character seems petulant and far, far younger than she is supposed to be. The adults are infuriating and the other kids are somehow worse. I can’t imagine any part of this book would work well for a middle grade audience considering how layered it is in in-depth Star Trek references to the point that even I sometimes got lost. For a book with so much potential in plot it really does almost nothing at all.

  • Leigh

    I received an ARC from the publisher courtesy of the SLJ'S Middle Grade Magic virtual conference in exchange for an honest review. I couldn't get behind this one. I'm not sure most middle grade readers will relate to Ebony Grace with ease. She's focused on imagining her life as a space mission in a way that removes her so far from reality, she can't relate to her peers. Additionally, it takes place in the 80's and leans heavily on some pop culture references (largely the original Star Trek serie

    I received an ARC from the publisher courtesy of the SLJ'S Middle Grade Magic virtual conference in exchange for an honest review. I couldn't get behind this one. I'm not sure most middle grade readers will relate to Ebony Grace with ease. She's focused on imagining her life as a space mission in a way that removes her so far from reality, she can't relate to her peers. Additionally, it takes place in the 80's and leans heavily on some pop culture references (largely the original Star Trek series and its movie franchise) that very few middle grade readers would be familiar with. I did get the references and still felt they got in the way. It moved relatively slowly, and the ending felt rather abrupt and unsatisfying. I wanted to like this one but just couldn't get there.

  • Brian

    I really hate giving one star reviews to books but this was a bit too strange and confusing to warrant much more. A young girl goes to live with her father in "New Joke City." The little girl spends her time pretending she is living in a fantasy world where everyone is from Star Trek. The plot is very strange and I wasn't quite sure how I was supposed to perceive the main character. Was she a special needs child? Was she just a zany girl? Regardless, the book is very hard to read and very nonsen

    I really hate giving one star reviews to books but this was a bit too strange and confusing to warrant much more. A young girl goes to live with her father in "New Joke City." The little girl spends her time pretending she is living in a fantasy world where everyone is from Star Trek. The plot is very strange and I wasn't quite sure how I was supposed to perceive the main character. Was she a special needs child? Was she just a zany girl? Regardless, the book is very hard to read and very nonsensical at times. I enjoyed the other character's reactions to the odd main character as well. The reason I chose to read this was the odd title, which ended up making sense in the plot but not so much in the sense of our own reality.

  • megs_bookrack

    We have a cover.

    This book sounds freakin' incredible y'all.

    Please read the synopsis and add this to your TBRs.

    The world needs more stories like this.

    Let's

    (Now I shall dismount my soapbox.)

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