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When best friends Tai and Mila are reunited after a summer apart, their friendship threatens to combust from the pressure of secrets, middle school, and the looming dance auditions for a new talented-and-gifted program. Fans of Renée Watson’s Piecing Me Together will love this memorable story about a complex friendship between two very different African American girls—and t When best friends Tai and Mila are reunited after a summer apart, their friendship threatens to combust from the pressure of secrets, middle school, and the looming dance auditions for a new talented-and-gifted program. Fans of Renée Watson’s Piecing Me Together will love this memorable story about a complex friendship between two very different African American girls—and the importance of speaking up. Jamila Phillips and Tai Johnson have been inseparable since they were toddlers, having grown up across the street from each other in Pirates Cove, a low-income housing project. As summer comes to an end, Tai can’t wait for Mila to return from spending a month with her aunt in the suburbs. But both girls are grappling with secrets, and when Mila returns she’s more focused on her upcoming dance auditions than hanging out with Tai. Paula Chase explores complex issues that affect many young teens, and So Done offers a powerful message about speaking up. Full of ballet, basketball, family, and daily life in Pirates Cove, this memorable novel is for fans of Ali Benjamin’s The Thing About Jellyfish and Jason Reynolds’s Ghost.


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When best friends Tai and Mila are reunited after a summer apart, their friendship threatens to combust from the pressure of secrets, middle school, and the looming dance auditions for a new talented-and-gifted program. Fans of Renée Watson’s Piecing Me Together will love this memorable story about a complex friendship between two very different African American girls—and t When best friends Tai and Mila are reunited after a summer apart, their friendship threatens to combust from the pressure of secrets, middle school, and the looming dance auditions for a new talented-and-gifted program. Fans of Renée Watson’s Piecing Me Together will love this memorable story about a complex friendship between two very different African American girls—and the importance of speaking up. Jamila Phillips and Tai Johnson have been inseparable since they were toddlers, having grown up across the street from each other in Pirates Cove, a low-income housing project. As summer comes to an end, Tai can’t wait for Mila to return from spending a month with her aunt in the suburbs. But both girls are grappling with secrets, and when Mila returns she’s more focused on her upcoming dance auditions than hanging out with Tai. Paula Chase explores complex issues that affect many young teens, and So Done offers a powerful message about speaking up. Full of ballet, basketball, family, and daily life in Pirates Cove, this memorable novel is for fans of Ali Benjamin’s The Thing About Jellyfish and Jason Reynolds’s Ghost.

30 review for So Done

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jazmen

    I’m not a middle-grade reader. It’s mostly because I’m old as hell, but also because I find myself unable to relate to these stories of youth, I’m so far removed from. I haven’t been a middle grader—since a middle grader has been me. But, Chase told a story that’s relatable for ages 12-92, even me. Tai and Mila aka Bean are best friends. At least they were before Mila went to visit her Aunt over the summer—returning quietly, wanting to shed her childish nickname—and the stigma that surrounds her n I’m not a middle-grade reader. It’s mostly because I’m old as hell, but also because I find myself unable to relate to these stories of youth, I’m so far removed from. I haven’t been a middle grader—since a middle grader has been me. But, Chase told a story that’s relatable for ages 12-92, even me. Tai and Mila aka Bean are best friends. At least they were before Mila went to visit her Aunt over the summer—returning quietly, wanting to shed her childish nickname—and the stigma that surrounds her neighborhood, and any drama that comes along with it. She’s Jamila, more than the Cove, more than a girl from the improvised neighborhood of the Cove, just more. But it’s the secret that she keeps that really drove and continues to drive her away. Between her feelings of wanting out, and her beef with her best friend, Tai. This could have easily been switched with adult characters and been just as relatable. The lingo and voices keep this story young, and current—but it will also appeal to adults with its underlying message of, it's okay to have a dream. It’s okay to want out, to not want to be friends with someone anymore, it’s okay to just be you. Although I find we teach this message to the younger people, its definitely something that can extend to the older generation, myself included. We have to learn to not be so hard on ourselves sometimes—and this book is a reminder of that. That you can mess up, and still redeem yourself. The book is slow moving, and filled with juvenile drama—but it’s one of those reads—that do something for the people reading it. It’s culturally correct without being stereotypical. It’s solid and down to earth, So Done is the kind of book you’ll want to hand to both your older and younger siblings. Chase did a positive and eye-opening thing for our youngsters, and I think she got it right.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Donalyn

    Perfect for middle schoolers struggling with friendships.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kym

    If you go back and look at some of my past reviews, I allude to the fact that there was a time when you could find books with black characters, and the black culture was basically ignored. The character might run his hands through his "curly" hair, or you might find a mention of mocha or camel skin, but there was nothing of the culture that came with that hair and skin. Then you might have the polar opposite. There were books that were full of brown skin, guns, drugs, gangs, sex, and there was o If you go back and look at some of my past reviews, I allude to the fact that there was a time when you could find books with black characters, and the black culture was basically ignored. The character might run his hands through his "curly" hair, or you might find a mention of mocha or camel skin, but there was nothing of the culture that came with that hair and skin. Then you might have the polar opposite. There were books that were full of brown skin, guns, drugs, gangs, sex, and there was one character fighting to get away from the horrors of his community. Those books tells the stories of some black experiences, but not all of them. Mila and Tai live in the Pirates Cove. In Pirates Cove there are rules to be followed. Tai loves her community and she loves the rules. If you step to her she'll step to you. Always have your girls at your back, and walk with your head held high. There's an intricate dance to managing Pirates Cove and Tai is the 8th grade queen of it all. Mila, although Tai's best friend, is quite the opposite. She's just come back from a Summer with her Aunt and all she wants is to go back. She's hates the song and dance that's required with living in the cove. She hates the rules of her friend circle, and more importantly, she no longer feels safe in her neighborhood, but no for the reasons you may think. This book alternates between Mila's point of view and Tai's point of view., and I'm glad it does. We, the readers, are able to see two very different perspectives on the same urban community. Tai's glad to have her best friend back, the peanut butter to her jelly, her second banana, her silent backup. Mila is ready for a change, she's shedding her nickname, moving up a level in her ballet class, and contemplating her friendship with Tai, her best friend who's house she can't bare to look at. Her best friend who talks over her and puts her down around other kids in the neighborhood, her best friend who pushes, prods, and nags, until she gets her way. The one person who Mila is just beginning to stand up against. As Mila begins to figure out who she is, as opposed to who the hood wants her to be, Tai is hurt and confused. Tai and Mila have been best friends forever, the summer has been torture without Mila. When Mila comes back and doesn't want to be called by her nick name, pulls away and makes new friends, doesn't back Tai up in conversation, and starts arguments when they're around other people Tai is flabbergasted. It's like Bean (Mila's nick name) left for the summer and a complete stranger came back in her place. Unlike Mila's loving, close knit family (shout out to JJ and Jeremy, Mila's brothers. I loved them!) Tai's is a bit of a mess. Tai lives with her grandmother, she's never met her mother, and her father is constantly high and only shows up when he needs, food, money, or a place to stay, and months earlier, he did something so unthinkable, the only response Tai could manage was to pretend like it hadn't happened. But unfortunately Mila can't forget, and it's driving a wedge between them. I loved seeing Pirates Cove through the eyes of Tai and Mila. If we're being honest with ourselves, we can all be made to feel uncomfortable in unfamiliar communities, particularly underprivileged ones. If Pirates Cover were real, I wouldn't know about the phenomenal dance school and all of the girls, like Mila, who were benefiting from it. I wouldn't know about the TAG program, that (while we never actually see it) may change the lives of these young people. We wouldn't know about people like Mila's dad who bend over backwards to keep drugs off the streets. The media has taught us that nothing good can come from a neighborhood like Tai and Mila's, they taught us that kids like Tai and Mila are doomed from the start, they taught us that fathers leave their children, and they've taught us that no one cares. SO Done has shown us, that the media has it wrong. Read it if you're in middle school, read it if you're in high school, read it if you've never lived anywhere but Greenwich, Connecticut. This is a book for all ages, all races, and all economic backgrounds. To read more of my reviews check out my blog at https://allthediversity.blogspot.com/

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    Edelweiss provided me a DRC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Do you know how hard it is to find middle grade fiction where African American girls and their culture feature prominently (as in not a sidekick or black-girl-in-a-white-town)...that's NOT historical? (Or about hurricane Katrina?) As a middle school librarian, I have found it's VERY difficult. I'm not saying they aren't out there--but they are hard to find. So Done features two girls from the same neighborhood--best friends Edelweiss provided me a DRC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Do you know how hard it is to find middle grade fiction where African American girls and their culture feature prominently (as in not a sidekick or black-girl-in-a-white-town)...that's NOT historical? (Or about hurricane Katrina?) As a middle school librarian, I have found it's VERY difficult. I'm not saying they aren't out there--but they are hard to find. So Done features two girls from the same neighborhood--best friends who are headed in different directions. It really does an excellent job of exploring the way friendships (and kids) change during middle school using authentic voices. These characters look and sound like a large portion of our school population who are normally under-represented in literature. I knew within a few chapters that it was a must-have for our school library. There are a couple of other important topics covered (drug dealing/abuse, sexual harassment/assault, difficult family dynamics) but the focus is really on Metai and Jamila and how their friendship is forced to evolve.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Katie Fitzgerald

    Jamila (Mila) and Metai (Tai), who live across the street from each other in a low-income housing project, have been good friends for a long time. Their friendship is strained these days, however, for a variety of reasons. After staying with her aunt in the suburbs for a few weeks, Mila suddenly objects to being called her childhood nickname of Bean and she doesn't want to spend time at Tai's house. Tai, on the other hand, is becoming more and more interested in getting a commitment out of her l Jamila (Mila) and Metai (Tai), who live across the street from each other in a low-income housing project, have been good friends for a long time. Their friendship is strained these days, however, for a variety of reasons. After staying with her aunt in the suburbs for a few weeks, Mila suddenly objects to being called her childhood nickname of Bean and she doesn't want to spend time at Tai's house. Tai, on the other hand, is becoming more and more interested in getting a commitment out of her long-time crush, Rollie, while she also deals with the erratic behavior of her drug-addicted father. Additionally, both girls, and many of their other friends, are interested in auditioning for the new Talented and Gifted (TAG) program, but worry that with so much competition they may not be accepted. I immediately recognized Paula Chase as the author of the Del Rio Bay Clique series, which I remember ordering for my library back when I was a teen librarian, and which was hugely popular. This book, though written at the middle grade level, is set in the same community, and judging from how well-written it is, it is also likely to be very popular. So many middle grade friendship stories are set against very generic middle class backgrounds where all the characters talk, act, think, and sound the same. This book, by contrast, makes great use of slang and local color to make the characters sound real and authentic, and develops its setting in such a way that it is not just the backdrop of the story, but an integral part of the way the plot unfolds. Despite the fact that I wasn't familiar with a lot of the slang or subject matter, I was completely drawn into this world and fully invested in the well-being of both girls and in their hopes for getting into TAG. I can imagine that kids who do get the cultural references will be that much more immersed in the story. There is some mature subject matter in this book that definitely places it at the higher end of the middle grade spectrum. Both Tai and Mila have parents who use drugs, and though it is never explicitly stated, it is clear that Tai's mom and dad were teen parents. There is also a troubling incident involving Mila and Tai's father, which, while handled gracefully by the author, with a clear-cut resolution, might be too much for some readers, especially those who are used to lighter friendship books. For that reason, I think of it as more appropriate for middle school than elementary school readers. Still, there are plenty of positive role models in the story, and the overall focus is on hope and healing, not on darkness and despair, as is fitting for a middle grade novel. So Done is yet another wonderful 2018 middle grade book (there are so many good ones this year so far!) and certainly a strong middle grade debut for Paula Chase. I'd be happy to see more books like this one in the years to come! (Thanks to Edelweiss for the digital review copy!) This review also appears on my blog, Read-at-Home Mom.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Moore

    The two main characters in this book were so great and I loved how the author contrasted their motivations and behavior. The ending didn't wrap up every loose end, which I loved since so many ends are left loose in real life. I really appreciated that the protagonists were 13. I'd love to see more books with junior high protagonists since so many protagonists in YA are 16+.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    When Mila comes home from a summer spent away from the trailer, she puts a wedge between her and former best friend Tai. She no longer wants to be called by her old nickname, and Tai doesn't take to that -- nor the distance -- well. But Mila has her reasons: she wants more than she thinks she can achieve, and she's leery of Tai's father after what he did to her a few months ago. Chase writes a really compelling and realistic look at the complex dynamics of friendship. This book lands in the uppe When Mila comes home from a summer spent away from the trailer, she puts a wedge between her and former best friend Tai. She no longer wants to be called by her old nickname, and Tai doesn't take to that -- nor the distance -- well. But Mila has her reasons: she wants more than she thinks she can achieve, and she's leery of Tai's father after what he did to her a few months ago. Chase writes a really compelling and realistic look at the complex dynamics of friendship. This book lands in the upper middle grade range, and it's true to what happens between friends at that fragile age before high school. Further complicating this story are issues of poverty and access, as well as families challenged by issues of addiction. Neither Tai nor Mila has a rosy home life, but neither lacks love or support needed to grow into the people they can become. One of the interesting pieces of this is what overlays the story: the school is getting a Talented and Gifted program, which will give access to more lessons and education within the fine arts. Both Tai and Mila have been dancers and plan on trying out for TAG. Tai doesn't take it as seriously as Mila does, in part because she's less invested in ballet than she is in other styles of dance. But she also feels compelled to do so so she doesn't lose her best friend. Near the end, we find out the fate of both girls, and we see Tai confront the truths behind her motivations, and these big moments are well-earned and serve to flesh out the girls even more. Neither is better or worse than the other, and Chase is careful in exploring what drives each of them and what it is that might drive them apart. This one will appeal to middle grade readers, especially those who care about friendship stories. The modern slang and language will make it even more accessible and relatable.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kathie

    Wow. One of my favorite middle grade books of the year. Deep and powerful, with a voice that’s rarely heard in middle grade, SO DONE delves into topics and themes this age group needs to find in books. I learned SO much from it. An upper MG must-read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Carla Riemer

    Best friends Jamila Phillips and Metai Johnson live in the Pirates Cove housing project. Metai lives with her grandmother. Her African American father and Korean American mother were teenagers when she was born. Her father, now 28, comes around occasionally, is usually high and has never figured out how to be an adult. Her mother is gone from her life entirely. Jamila lives with her father and 2 brothers; her drug addicted mother has been banned from the home. Her dad is loving, attentive, and d Best friends Jamila Phillips and Metai Johnson live in the Pirates Cove housing project. Metai lives with her grandmother. Her African American father and Korean American mother were teenagers when she was born. Her father, now 28, comes around occasionally, is usually high and has never figured out how to be an adult. Her mother is gone from her life entirely. Jamila lives with her father and 2 brothers; her drug addicted mother has been banned from the home. Her dad is loving, attentive, and does everything he can to make sure they have the best opportunities. It’s the summer before 8th grade, and Jamila has just come back from spending the last few weeks with her aunts and older sister in The Woods, a nice neighborhood where she gets to live a different kind of life. Where Metai loves the Cove and even enjoys the daily drama, Jamila gets tired of the pettiness and always having to watch her back; she feels like a different person in The Woods. Jamila and Tai are reunited and reconnect with the other girls in their squad, but it's clear things are changing between them. Jamila doesn’t want to be called by her old nickname, Bean, is excited about continuing her ballet classes, and is looking forward to auditions for a new performing arts program being offered in their community. Tai thinks she should have the right to call Jamila whatever she wants, hates ballet (but loves jazz dance) and is annoyed at Jamila and other Cove friends for getting excited about the program – she sees it as another “let’s help out these ghetto kids” plan that will be gone in a year. Jamila and Tai also clash over welcoming a new girl into their group. Jamila wants to get to know her, but Tai just wants to be sure the girl knows her place. Jamila and Tai both want to hold on to their friendship but it gets too hard. Eventually they face the real thing causing Jamila to keep her distance from Tai and wanting to leave the Cove – something they both know to be true but have never spoken about. Jamila and Tai’s story deals with issues many young people confront at this age – friends growing in different directions, seeing the world differently and envisioning different futures for themselves. I really appreciate this not being a simplistic good/bad story, as both girls’ worldviews are respected. Tai successfully navigates her environment, overcoming challenges to make the most of it. Jamila yearns for something different, understanding she may need to leave the Cove to become the person she wants to be. Additionally, this story reminds us that young people have complex lives, some made even more complicated by the adults around them. In the end, we see a realistic journey of these young teens trying to grow up without growing apart. I can't end this review without talking about the cover. It is often not the case, but here we have a beautiful depiction of Metai and Jamila, looking just as they're described in the book. And, even though they're close, you can see the tension between them. Kudos to the artist and designer.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Cassie Thomas

    The lessons and message in this story are phenomenal. This is a book that needs to be in hands of so many as a mirror and window. My only disclaimer would be to make sure that the students whose hand you are putting it in is mature enough to handle the substance and/or are not currently suffering from PTSD due to events that are portrayed in this story. I immediately thought of a young girl I have taught who I know desperately needs to read this story to know everything is and will be okay, BUT The lessons and message in this story are phenomenal. This is a book that needs to be in hands of so many as a mirror and window. My only disclaimer would be to make sure that the students whose hand you are putting it in is mature enough to handle the substance and/or are not currently suffering from PTSD due to events that are portrayed in this story. I immediately thought of a young girl I have taught who I know desperately needs to read this story to know everything is and will be okay, BUT I would have to make sure and give her the backstory first in case it triggers emotions from her experience that I know she's worked hard to work through. Overall though, I highly recommend it to be put in your upper grade libraries. If you are unsure, I would read first. (Bonus: Bahni Turpin is the audio reader!)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    This book is really really good so go read or listen to it immediately. Also if you are not a youth have Google at the ready because you're about to feel really old and will need Google's help with some of the text speak and slang.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Sarno

    Bold and smart with dialogue that ticks and wonderfully complex characters.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Afoma Umesi

    Grateful to author Paula Chase for sending me an ARC of this moving middle-grade book! SO DONE follows two friends, Metai and Jamila living in a low-income Housing Project. Although, inseparable from childhood, things change when Jamila returns from a summer in the suburbs. Both girls are dealing with secrets and Mila appears to be different after her time in the suburbs, throwing her self into dance auditions for their new afterschool program. I LOVED this book. I'm embarrassed to report that th Grateful to author Paula Chase for sending me an ARC of this moving middle-grade book! SO DONE follows two friends, Metai and Jamila living in a low-income Housing Project. Although, inseparable from childhood, things change when Jamila returns from a summer in the suburbs. Both girls are dealing with secrets and Mila appears to be different after her time in the suburbs, throwing her self into dance auditions for their new afterschool program. I LOVED this book. I'm embarrassed to report that this is the first book by Paula Chase that I've read, but I loved it. Chase's writing is so fluid and original. Metai and Mila's voices were so distinct throughout the story that I could see them easily in my mind's eye. I also enjoyed how big a role the entire Pirates Cove neighborhood plays in this book. Now, while reading Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend, I can easily say that Chase's Pirate Cove, just like the neighborhood in Ferrante's novel is in itself a living character in this novel. The dynamic between the girls and their friends is so reminiscent of that turbulent age between middle school and high school. More importantly, SO DONE tackles the struggles experienced even in adult friendships, the importance of stepping up to pursue your goals and the need to speak up even when you're afraid. I loved this book (have I already mentioned that?). Definitely top five reads of the year!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lanora TM

    This is the story of two young soon to be 8th graders. I enjoyed the character development of both characters and loved the strength both girls had.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Shira

    this audiobook review was prepared for and appears in AudioFile Magazine. Tai and Mila have always been best friends, but differing interests threaten to break them apart in the weeks leading up to the start of eighth grade. Though the audiobook alternates viewpoints between the two girls, Bahni Turpin uses the same narrative voice throughout. Tai's and Mila's perspectives are so different that listeners won't be confused by the consistency in narrative voice; they'll instead be delighted by Turp this audiobook review was prepared for and appears in AudioFile Magazine. Tai and Mila have always been best friends, but differing interests threaten to break them apart in the weeks leading up to the start of eighth grade. Though the audiobook alternates viewpoints between the two girls, Bahni Turpin uses the same narrative voice throughout. Tai's and Mila's perspectives are so different that listeners won't be confused by the consistency in narrative voice; they'll instead be delighted by Turpin's skill in crafting individual speaking voices for each character. Superficially, this seems like a story about cliques and crushes. But Chase takes character development to a deeper level, particularly in demonstrating the girls' approaches to coping with a shared trauma. Turpin flawlessly balances gravity in narrating difficult scenes with playfulness when the girls are with their friends.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Samadhi

    Awesome book!!!!!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tracie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Two friends try to navigate the changes in their friendship after the father of one touches the other when the three are alone one day.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lizanne Johnson

    Intermediate, realistic fiction, friendship, coming of age I look forward to recommending this book to my middle school kids. I seek out books where they can see themselves in the characters. This is one of those books.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    I enjoyed this story. One of the characters was less likable to me, but by the end, I found both characters realistic and likable. I enjoyed watching their friendship evolve and their passions come out. The ending was good; it was good of them to take action and confront the issue that had caused them pain.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

    I loved this powerful story about Tai and Mila, two very strong, very different girls who are navigating some extremely difficult situations. I am always looking for upper MG books that don’t shy away from presenting young teens’ lives in all their complexity. This one covers important ground I haven’t seen other middle grade books cover, and in such a thoughtful, masterful way. I appreciated the balance of emotionally heavy topics and lighthearted moments. I felt for Mila so deeply throughout t I loved this powerful story about Tai and Mila, two very strong, very different girls who are navigating some extremely difficult situations. I am always looking for upper MG books that don’t shy away from presenting young teens’ lives in all their complexity. This one covers important ground I haven’t seen other middle grade books cover, and in such a thoughtful, masterful way. I appreciated the balance of emotionally heavy topics and lighthearted moments. I felt for Mila so deeply throughout the book, but what I admire most about Paula Chase’s execution here is how I was also on Tai’s side, and I empathized with and rooted for her even in moments when I didn’t like the way she treated Mila. Tai is unlike other characters I’ve read about and I’m so glad I got to know her and that other readers will too. The ending broke my heart and healed it in the best possible way. I’ll be recommending this novel widely. I think all libraries serving 6th-8th graders need it!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC from Edelweiss Plus Bean and Tai are neighbors in a low-income housing project and have been friends for a very long time, but recently things have been strained between them. Tai hopes that when Bean returns from spending the summer with her aunt and sister in the suburbs and the pair start their 8th grade year, that things will return to normal. When Bean decides that she would rather not be called by her nickname and prefers to be addressed as Mila (or Jamila) and still doesn't want to s E ARC from Edelweiss Plus Bean and Tai are neighbors in a low-income housing project and have been friends for a very long time, but recently things have been strained between them. Tai hopes that when Bean returns from spending the summer with her aunt and sister in the suburbs and the pair start their 8th grade year, that things will return to normal. When Bean decides that she would rather not be called by her nickname and prefers to be addressed as Mila (or Jamila) and still doesn't want to spend time at Tai's house, Tai is rather irritated. Mila is struggling as well. While her mother is not part of her life because of a drug addiction problem, her father is much stricter that Tai's grandmother, who still allows Tai's father to be at their house, even though he struggles with substance abuse as well. Tai is very interested in her new relationship with Rollie, and in investing herself in the neighborhood activities with her friends Mo and Sheeda. Mila is thinking about distancing herself, and is wondering if the suburbs are a better fit for her. When tryouts for a new Talented and Gifted school are announced, and two new students move into the area, the neighborhood is abuzz with who might make it into the different programs. The dancing program is extremely competitive, and Mila feels she can work hard enough to get into it, but Tai isn't as fond of ballet as she is of hip hop, and feels that the good ballet dancers get preferential treatment. Mila and Tai go back and forth in their relationship because of all of these factors, especially a critical incident involving Tai's father that is eventually addressed in an appropriate manner. Will the girls be able to embrace their similarities and remain friends, or will their differences wear down their relationship? Strengths: This gave a nicely balanced description of the Cove neighborhood (which shows up in this author's earlier work, the Del Rio Bay Clique books), detailing the good parts as well as the problems. Friend relationships are SO important to middle grade readers, and the differences that Tai and Mila are experiencing are very true to life. The auditions for the TAG program are a facet of middle school life not often covered in literature, so the drama surrounding those was refreshing. The cover is fantastic and will sell itself. I'm very much looking forward to having this books available to recommend to my readers! Weaknesses: There is some slang in this, and I'm always conflicted about slang, since it sometimes dates a book very quickly and deep in my heart of hearts I want to keep all of the books I love in the library forever! Also, slang usage (even in the age of the internet) can be different in various locations. There were several times where I had to look up phrases in order to make sense of what was going on, although most words could be understood with contextual clues. What I really think: Definitely purchasing this for fans of Renee Watson, Sharon Flake, and Maddie Ziegler.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Carli

    ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5. As Jamila (Mila) and Metal (Tai) prepare for their eighth grade year, the change between them is palpable. Mila spent all summer in the suburbs with her aunt, and Tai is anxious to have her best friend back. There is an unspoken, horrible thing that happened hanging between them, and as they prepare to try out for a gifted and talented program at school the space between them seems to widen. The characters show a ton of personal growth and the ending was heartbreaking. Highly recommend f ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5. As Jamila (Mila) and Metal (Tai) prepare for their eighth grade year, the change between them is palpable. Mila spent all summer in the suburbs with her aunt, and Tai is anxious to have her best friend back. There is an unspoken, horrible thing that happened hanging between them, and as they prepare to try out for a gifted and talented program at school the space between them seems to widen. The characters show a ton of personal growth and the ending was heartbreaking. Highly recommend for older middle school readers (grades 7+).

  23. 4 out of 5

    Shoshanna

    Another really great YA / Youth book, there seem to be so many good ones these days! The audiobook for this is by Bahni Turpin, who recently read "The Hate U Give" and "Children of Blood and Bone." She does a great job with this one too! "So Done" is told from the perspective of two friends, Jamila and Metai, after Jamila comes back from staying at her aunt's for most of the summer. When follows is a story of strained friendship, family, crushes, and just life in low income parts of town and how Another really great YA / Youth book, there seem to be so many good ones these days! The audiobook for this is by Bahni Turpin, who recently read "The Hate U Give" and "Children of Blood and Bone." She does a great job with this one too! "So Done" is told from the perspective of two friends, Jamila and Metai, after Jamila comes back from staying at her aunt's for most of the summer. When follows is a story of strained friendship, family, crushes, and just life in low income parts of town and how one relates to it. Sometimes funny, sometimes sweet, often tense, this book takes place over a relatively short period of time, and yet so much happens in the lives of these teens. Also, I should say, there is definitely something scary in the background, from the past. I won't spoil it, but it was pretty upsetting... Def worth reading though!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    3.5 stars. Jamila and Metai have always been best friends, but after Mila returns from a summer spent at her aunt's, their relationship is strained; they share an unspoken secret about Metai's good-for-nothing father, and they're both headed in different directions. Metai feels loyal to their housing project and its ways, but Mila doesn't want where she's from to define her. So Done is a fantastic and bittersweet portrayal of growing up, apart, and together again, with the mix of love and tensio 3.5 stars. Jamila and Metai have always been best friends, but after Mila returns from a summer spent at her aunt's, their relationship is strained; they share an unspoken secret about Metai's good-for-nothing father, and they're both headed in different directions. Metai feels loyal to their housing project and its ways, but Mila doesn't want where she's from to define her. So Done is a fantastic and bittersweet portrayal of growing up, apart, and together again, with the mix of love and tension that pre-teens often face with their closest friends. Super good, but was a little too slow-paced for me. At the same time, I feel like the pace that it goes is accurate to how it truly feels when you're on thin ice with a beloved friend, and you don't know what's in your future with them.

  25. 4 out of 5

    leah the rock johnson

    seriously great in every way. i wish this book existed when i was in middle school

  26. 5 out of 5

    Autumn

    I did not finish, so I will not rate. However, I think there are some great things going on with this book in terms of dialogue and the portrayal of jaded middle school girls.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    I just found out I won a copy of this from Goodreads Giveaways. Thanks Goodreads, I can't wait to get my copy in the mail!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alexa Hamilton

    Tai and Bean have been friends forever, but something has changed while Bean is away at her aunt's for the summer. Or was it just the aunt's house? Are they just growing up? Or is there something else? Spoiler: there is something else...but there's also 8th grade and new friends and changing relationships with boys. Can the afterschool dance club they both want to be in bring them together? Does Tai even want to be in it? Why doesn't Bean want to be called Bean any more (her real name is Jamila) Tai and Bean have been friends forever, but something has changed while Bean is away at her aunt's for the summer. Or was it just the aunt's house? Are they just growing up? Or is there something else? Spoiler: there is something else...but there's also 8th grade and new friends and changing relationships with boys. Can the afterschool dance club they both want to be in bring them together? Does Tai even want to be in it? Why doesn't Bean want to be called Bean any more (her real name is Jamila)? I love how natural this book feels. Plenty of things are happening to Mila and Tai and they are trying to roll with the punches. The book follows each of them in alternating chapters with a third person omniscient voice, which worked really well for the story but I sometimes had trouble remembering who I was following. But the dialogue is on point, with proper slang and grammar in the vernacular, along with the added in text messages, which are quite realistic for that age group. And the way the (mild spoiler for adults, it's easy to figure out with the clues) sexual touching from Tai's father is handled is beautiful. It is not the way it is always handled, but it is handled really well, even with the shame and the horror and the hurt feelings from everyone all around, and it's authentic to the characters we meet in the book. As I've written this, I've begun to realize what an incredible treasure this book is, especially for our kids growing up so fast, especially in cities, especially children of color.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mary Kate Downing

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I absolutely loved this book! I’m a strong advocate for authentic representation, particularly when it comes to the #ownvoices movement, and I was so happy to see someone whom I know is also an advocate for representation (to the extent that she dedicated this book to it!) write a book about experiences and types of characters with which she was obviously familiar. To me (a twenty-something, so take this with a grain of salt), this book didn’t seem to be reaching/trying to be cool as far as know I absolutely loved this book! I’m a strong advocate for authentic representation, particularly when it comes to the #ownvoices movement, and I was so happy to see someone whom I know is also an advocate for representation (to the extent that she dedicated this book to it!) write a book about experiences and types of characters with which she was obviously familiar. To me (a twenty-something, so take this with a grain of salt), this book didn’t seem to be reaching/trying to be cool as far as knowing what middle schoolers who live in public housing communities in 2018 are into and how they speak; it actually sounded realistic. It was also excellent to see diversity within a diverse cast of characters — for example, some of the Black characters like hip-hop, some like ballet; some wear their hair natural, some get it done. People of color in general and Black people in particular aren’t a monolith, and this book does an excellent job of showing that. Beyond the fact that it does a great job of authentically representing the type of characters it’s about, this book has an interesting plot with an unfortunate dark twist, all of which served to hold my interest. I only wish the end of the book had wrapped up the loose ends a little more and clarified whether Jamila and Tai were completely back to normal as friends. Nevertheless, I highly recommend this book to approximately those in middle school and up, especially if they’re looking for an authentic book featuring non-white characters. “So Done” is a terrific middle-grade debut by Paula Chase.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kristin Crouch

    Thank you to Paula Chase for providing an ARC of So Done to collabookation for review. Jamila and Tai have grown up together. Tai is loud, brave, and brazen; Mila is quiet, introspective, and calm. That's how it's always been. But So Done begins after Mila spends a summer at her aunt's house~ away from the noise, gossip, and conflict in Pirate's Cove. Now that Mila has been out of the projects, she sees them differently. She sees everything differently, including her role in the friendship, and Thank you to Paula Chase for providing an ARC of So Done to collabookation for review. Jamila and Tai have grown up together. Tai is loud, brave, and brazen; Mila is quiet, introspective, and calm. That's how it's always been. But So Done begins after Mila spends a summer at her aunt's house~ away from the noise, gossip, and conflict in Pirate's Cove. Now that Mila has been out of the projects, she sees them differently. She sees everything differently, including her role in the friendship, and the opportunities being presented to her. There is a prestigious extracurricular program being offered to kids in Tai and Mila's region, and Mila wants in. Tai is reluctant to hope too hard about being accepted. Mila knows if she puts her all into her audition, she has a good chance. So Done deftly includes so much that kids today face: navigating the world around them while dreaming of more, the complications of long-term friendships, and figuring out when you must stand up for yourself, regardless of the consequence. I particularly appreciated the introspection modeled in both main characters. They know they've made mistakes in the friendship, and they both must learn to forgive. But, ultimately, they must figure out if the friendship is worth the struggle. I'm a firm believer that kids today need to see characters reflecting on their lives- social media tends to highlight only the positive. Chase models on every page the give and take of many types of relationships. Highly recommended to students in grade six and above.

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