Just South of Home

Just South of Home

Cousins Sarah and Janie unearth a tragic event in their small Southern town’s history in this witty middle grade debut novel that’s perfect for fans of Stella by Starlight, The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing, and As Brave as You.Twelve-year old Sarah is finally in charge. At last, she can spend her summer months reading her favorite science books and bossing around her younger b...

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Title:Just South of Home
Author:Karen Strong
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Just South of Home Reviews

  • Joshua Levy

    Really enjoyed JUST SOUTH OF HOME--the characters at the heart of the story are so lovable and so compelling. And as someone who really enjoyed spooky stories as a kid, JUST SOUTH OF HOME hits all the right notes. Kid'll love it! (Grown-ups too.)

  • Remy Lai

    What a great book!

    Sarah's cousin Janie has come over to stay. They stumble into an old church and cemetery, and Janie "steals" a cameo, causing a haint to follow them. What follows is a perfect balance of realism and the supernatural.

    What I love most is the relationship between Sarah and Janie. While the cousins do not get along at first, they start to discover they have more in common than they thought. I also love the complex relationship between Sarah's mom and grandma.

  • Gillian

    Beautifully written and perfectly paced, JUST SOUTH OF HOME will keep you turning the pages as you fall in love with the characters. These characters! Sarah, the main character, is a terrific kid. Janie, her cousin is struggling—but at the same time you feel for her and are rooting for her. But Sarah’s little brother is my favorite—he’s adorable! And their grandmother is unforgettable, I can absolutely hear her voice in my head. I don’t want to give away the plot but I will just say GHOST story,

    Beautifully written and perfectly paced, JUST SOUTH OF HOME will keep you turning the pages as you fall in love with the characters. These characters! Sarah, the main character, is a terrific kid. Janie, her cousin is struggling—but at the same time you feel for her and are rooting for her. But Sarah’s little brother is my favorite—he’s adorable! And their grandmother is unforgettable, I can absolutely hear her voice in my head. I don’t want to give away the plot but I will just say GHOST story, a town that needs to heal, family, friendship, and red velvet cake. Highly recommended!

  • Kristin Crouch

    Just South of Home is the best of a child's summer: family, friends, mystery, and adventure!

    Responsible Sarah is finally old enough to be in charge of her little brother, Ellis, for the summer. This means that instead of toiling away under the hot sun following her emotionally distant grandmother's orders, she can read all the books she dreams of! What Sarah didn't plan on was her cousin, Janie, being included in these plans. Janie dislikes Sarah's country life, and misses both her mom and the

    Just South of Home is the best of a child's summer: family, friends, mystery, and adventure!

    Responsible Sarah is finally old enough to be in charge of her little brother, Ellis, for the summer. This means that instead of toiling away under the hot sun following her emotionally distant grandmother's orders, she can read all the books she dreams of! What Sarah didn't plan on was her cousin, Janie, being included in these plans. Janie dislikes Sarah's country life, and misses both her mom and the big city she left behind for the summer.

    When Ellis shares an old tale of haunting with Sarah and Janie, they become intrigued...And soon enough, they are in over their heads!

    I loved this book! The family relationships were memorable and evolving. From the distant and judgmental grandmother to the cranky cousin, to the doting and encouraging parents and the strong sibling dynamic - it was a joy to spend the summer with them all.

    Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I loved that the kids revisited the racial history of the Deep South. While many in the town would have liked to forget some of the evil that had occurred there, the kids knew that the only way to truly move forward would be to acknowledge and honor the struggle and pain of those who had walked before them.

    I highly recommend this book for students in grades 4 and up.

  • Laura Gardner

    🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟/5 for JUST SOUTH OF HOME, a debut novel by @karenmusings (#KarenStrong); thanks to @simonkids and YSBRMA blog for sharing this; will share with #kidlitexchange next!

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    "...we can't change the past, but we need to remember it. We need to acknowledge it and not hide it." This debut middle grade novel about coming to terms our racist past is a must-buy for every elementary and middle school library! I sped through this book in one day and simply loved it.

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    Sarah, a Black pre-teen in rural Ge

    🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟/5 for JUST SOUTH OF HOME, a debut novel by @karenmusings (#KarenStrong); thanks to @simonkids and YSBRMA blog for sharing this; will share with #kidlitexchange next!

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    "...we can't change the past, but we need to remember it. We need to acknowledge it and not hide it." This debut middle grade novel about coming to terms our racist past is a must-buy for every elementary and middle school library! I sped through this book in one day and simply loved it.

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    Sarah, a Black pre-teen in rural Georgia, loves science, her small town and her family. She's dependable and book smart so it's no surprise when her mother puts her in charge of her little brother Ellis and her city cousin Janie, who is visiting for two weeks while her mother tries out for a movie. At least she isn't stuck doing chores all day for her grandmother, Mrs. Greene, who strangely insists her grandkids call her by her formal name (this may be confusing at first for readers). Janie convinces Sarah to take her to Creek Church, the former site of her church, which was burned down by the Klan and is rumored to be haunted. Janie, Sarah, Ellis and their friend Jasper soon find themselves embroiled in a mystery involving restless spirits ("haints") who must be brought to justice. Sarah may love science, but increasing evidence suggests that ghosts exist, too. Can she help put the spirits to rest?

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    Within three chapters I was completely hooked by this book. Strong's writing flows effortlessly and the plot, as well as the sub-plots are well constructed. I loved seeing Janie and Sarah's relationship grow, I adored the humorous scenes with Ellis' bearded dragon Walter and I was captivated by the mystery. Highly recommended!

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    #librariansofinstagram #librariesofinstagram #mglit #mgbooks #justsouthofhome #mystery #racialjustice #saytheirnames #ilovemg #bookreview

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