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Saving Savannah

By Tonya Bolden

· YA Books

March may forever be remembered as "corona virus month," but I'm still focusing on women's history this month.

This is the last of a historical fiction trilogy following the lives of three very different African American women in three very different time periods of American history.

We loved this book! As a parent of two teens, and having read the first two books, Crossing Ebenezer Creek and Inventing Victoria, Savannah comes off as a spoiled brat at the beginning of 1919 in Washington, D.C.

But I had to stop myself and remember: she can't possibly know what I, the reader and a parent, know. She has to experience it all for herself, make her own mistakes, and learn from them -- no matter how painful the process.

A young lady, she has all the privileges previous generations fought -- and died -- for, not that she appreciates it. She's not even aware of the sacrifices her family has made for her to get to this station in life. She goes to the best school, has the best clothes, gets invited to the best parties in her sheltered, wealthy African American social circles. But she feels likes she's ignored, invisible to her parents and society as a whole. As she begins to learn just how sheltered a life she's lived, she lashes out and is terrible to her best friend and her parents.

She sneaks out to volunteer at Nannie Burroughs National Training School for Women and Girls, where the students learn practical hands-on skills, like cleaning, doing laundry, cutting hair, planting gardens and selling produce. It's a world away from her pampered life, and she just can't see how hard the generations have worked before her to elevate her out of that kind of work.

But then she sneaks behind their backs and goes to a meeting that puts her in direct danger, all without thinking one iota of the effects of her actions on the lives of her family and friends.

She survives, unlike others, who are ripped from their homes for nothing more than being suspected of not supporting the government in a time of intense turmoil. And soon her best friend's sanity and the life of a beggar boy hang in the balance of her choices.

We love this series for how it expands our understanding of African American lives from the Civil War to the 1920s. I sincerely hope it's not the last.

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