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The Long Ride

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In the tumult of 1970s New York City, seventh graders are bussed from their neighborhood in Queens to integrate a new school in South Jamaica. Jamila Clarke. Josie Rivera. Francesca George. Three mixed-race girls, close friends whose immigrant parents worked hard to settle their families in a neighborhood with the best schools. The three girls are outsiders there, but they In the tumult of 1970s New York City, seventh graders are bussed from their neighborhood in Queens to integrate a new school in South Jamaica. Jamila Clarke. Josie Rivera. Francesca George. Three mixed-race girls, close friends whose immigrant parents worked hard to settle their families in a neighborhood with the best schools. The three girls are outsiders there, but they have each other. Now, at the start seventh grade, they are told they will be part of an experiment, taking a long bus ride to a brand-new school built to "mix up the black and white kids." Their parents don't want them to be experiments. Francesca's send her to a private school, leaving Jamila and Josie to take the bus ride without her. While Francesca is testing her limits, Josie and Jamila find themselves outsiders again at the new school. As the year goes on, the Spanish girls welcome Josie, while Jamila develops a tender friendship with a boy--but it's a relationship that can exist only at school.


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In the tumult of 1970s New York City, seventh graders are bussed from their neighborhood in Queens to integrate a new school in South Jamaica. Jamila Clarke. Josie Rivera. Francesca George. Three mixed-race girls, close friends whose immigrant parents worked hard to settle their families in a neighborhood with the best schools. The three girls are outsiders there, but they In the tumult of 1970s New York City, seventh graders are bussed from their neighborhood in Queens to integrate a new school in South Jamaica. Jamila Clarke. Josie Rivera. Francesca George. Three mixed-race girls, close friends whose immigrant parents worked hard to settle their families in a neighborhood with the best schools. The three girls are outsiders there, but they have each other. Now, at the start seventh grade, they are told they will be part of an experiment, taking a long bus ride to a brand-new school built to "mix up the black and white kids." Their parents don't want them to be experiments. Francesca's send her to a private school, leaving Jamila and Josie to take the bus ride without her. While Francesca is testing her limits, Josie and Jamila find themselves outsiders again at the new school. As the year goes on, the Spanish girls welcome Josie, while Jamila develops a tender friendship with a boy--but it's a relationship that can exist only at school.

30 review for The Long Ride

  1. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    So I’m about 50 pages into this #ARC and I think I’m going to set it aside. It’s not bad at all; it just isn’t pulling me in. There isn’t a lot of description of the side characters, so I’m having trouble keeping them straight. The language is simple and straight-forward, so I think it will make a great addition to my ESL classroom library. Since it’s not bad, but I’m not finishing it, I won’t review it. I might just need a break from YA for now!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Carli

    ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5. In 1970s New York, Jamila, Josie, and Francesca are inseparable. They are all mixed-race, and their families moved into a white neighborhood so their children could attend good schools. However, the city decides to integrate their schools, sending Jamila and Josie to South Jamaica, with Francesca’s parents opting for a private school. Over the course of the year the girls struggle as outsiders in their new school, and also learn harsh realities about prejudice. I flew through this audiob ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5. In 1970s New York, Jamila, Josie, and Francesca are inseparable. They are all mixed-race, and their families moved into a white neighborhood so their children could attend good schools. However, the city decides to integrate their schools, sending Jamila and Josie to South Jamaica, with Francesca’s parents opting for a private school. Over the course of the year the girls struggle as outsiders in their new school, and also learn harsh realities about prejudice. I flew through this audiobook and am excited to get this one into my students’ hands. Recommended for grades 6+.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    Copy received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. While The Long Ride had a cool historical setting and an interesting premise, this book just didn't click for me. I liked that this middle-grade novel was set in 1970's Queens and that it was about young, mixed girls who take the "long ride" to a school where they are supposed to feel able to fit in more - something that actually happened at this time. Segregation was illegal by the 70's in the US, but schoolchi Copy received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. While The Long Ride had a cool historical setting and an interesting premise, this book just didn't click for me. I liked that this middle-grade novel was set in 1970's Queens and that it was about young, mixed girls who take the "long ride" to a school where they are supposed to feel able to fit in more - something that actually happened at this time. Segregation was illegal by the 70's in the US, but schoolchildren of color, like our three protagonists still faced major problems in school at the hands of their white classmates. These issues were portrayed in a realistic way, and the means by which the main character, Jamila, reacted to racism that was aimed at her was believable - she was immature at times, but she's only a seventh-grader in the story, anyways. I was expecting to get a message out of The Long Ride, or at least be able to think deeply about something after finishing it, but that didn't happen. We all know that middle-grade books can and do make you think about life, and I wish The Long Ride was one of those. It seemed a little shallow to me because the plot didn't dive into anything much deeper than "Girl is sad and mad about going to a new school." The Long Ride was average, which is sad because it has the potential to be a lot better. Also, I wasn't a fan of the romance between Jamila and John. It was played as a "forbidden romance," and I'm not exactly sure why that was necessary.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    Jamila, Francesca and Josie all live in the Cedar Gardens neighborhood of Queens, New York in 1971. For the coming school year, their neighborhood, which is largely white, will be bused to a school which is largely people of color. Since the girls are all racially mixed and somewhat unusual in their neighborhood, Jamila is interested in going to a school where she doesn't stand out for a change, even if her father is concerned about sending his daughter to a "bad" neighborhood. Before school sta Jamila, Francesca and Josie all live in the Cedar Gardens neighborhood of Queens, New York in 1971. For the coming school year, their neighborhood, which is largely white, will be bused to a school which is largely people of color. Since the girls are all racially mixed and somewhat unusual in their neighborhood, Jamila is interested in going to a school where she doesn't stand out for a change, even if her father is concerned about sending his daughter to a "bad" neighborhood. Before school starts, Francesca announces that she will be attending a private school, and this is yet another change. Jamila has a fairly good experience at her new school, although some teachers and other students are mean, and she is very concerned that the much quieter Josie is no longer in the accelerated classes because of her test scores. She starts hanging out with John, who is Black, and this causes some of the other girls to tell her she should stay with her "own" race. Jamila wants to hang out with John outside of school, but her family doesn't want her to be in his neighborhood. When he and his friend, Darren (who is interested in Josie) visit Jamila's neighborhood, they run into trouble. It's a difficult situation to navigate, and at the end of the school year, the busing is discontinued. Strengths: Finally! I've been waiting and waiting for a book on busing. Interestingly, this is similar to Sharon Robinson's story in her new Child of the Dream, in that the two girls being sent to another neighborhood were not white, which is an interesting twist. There is plenty of middle school drama with the girls, with Francesca being a little more daring and Josie being a lot less daring, and Jamila just trying to figure out how to get along at school, at home, and with her friends. I always enjoy this author's work, so was thrilled to see this one. Weaknesses: There could have been a little more discussion about busing and civil rights during this period of history. There was something about the first few chapters that I found a little confusing, and I know that my students don't have much background knowledge about this time period. I personally would have liked more period details (think Hood's Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.) What I really think: Definitely purchasing, but I wish the cover showed actual 1970s fashions. Pretty sure no one under the age of 70 wore skirts that long, and I know in Ohio, girls could only wear slacks to school in the winter!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lesley

    “You know, it’s a lot easier to be one side or the other. It’s harder to be in the middle. People don’t like the middle. That’s the bravest thing of all.” (178) Jamila, Josie, and Francesca are mixed-race best friends living in Queens, NY, in 1971. Their plans for starting seventh grade together with their white neighbors at the local junior high school change when their neighborhood becomes part of a social experiment—integration. Francesca’s parents send her to a private school wher “You know, it’s a lot easier to be one side or the other. It’s harder to be in the middle. People don’t like the middle. That’s the bravest thing of all.” (178) Jamila, Josie, and Francesca are mixed-race best friends living in Queens, NY, in 1971. Their plans for starting seventh grade together with their white neighbors at the local junior high school change when their neighborhood becomes part of a social experiment—integration. Francesca’s parents send her to a private school where she doesn’t fit, while Josie and Jamila take a long bus ride to a predominately black school in a neighborhood much rougher than theirs. However, they hope they may fit in better there, but Jamila is too light for the girls who call her “white,” and Josie is no longer in the advanced classes and worries about her future. The girls don’t fit into their new school neighborhood and their new boyfriends don’t fit into their neighborhood. As the girls try to navigate seventh grade, boyfriends, teachers, classes, Jamila’s anger, and Josie’s shyness, narrator Jamila realizes, “If anyone had told me this was what being in junior high would be like: Your best friend is silent beside you. You’re skinny and knock-kneed and you get lost easily. You aren’t at the top of the Ferris Wheel. I’d have said: You can have it.” (60) Their world outside the neighborhood also appears to have changed. “…I’m starting to notice that something bigger is going on in the city. Everyone is edgier, angry. You can feel it in the way people squint through the bus windows…. Meanwhile, kids are expected to glide across neighborhoods and make the world right. It’s supposed to be easy…. The ride is longer and rougher than anyone ever let on.” (115-116) In this novel, author Marina Budhos shares some of her childhood experiences, the complexities of integration in ordinary neighborhoods, and the different plans—some that faltered or were unsuccessful. Adolescents today can experience history through this story, others can identify with schools that are still segregated, and, as the author states, for other readers, “…it is also about those of us who do not fit into neat racial categories” (Author’s Note, 197) and the “internal resegregation” of integrated schools. The Long Ride is another book that will introduce yet more strong girls in literature (and well as a few interesting male characters) and generate important conversations among middle grade readers.

  6. 5 out of 5

    J.C.

    **I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review** While it felt genuinely well-intentioned, this book fell very flat for me. Positives: The main character’s voice was very authentic. I liked the concept of dealing with segregation and mixed-race kids, and I thought addressing school system issues and middle graders was a great idea. . Negatives: I was confused by most the book. The plot reall **I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review** While it felt genuinely well-intentioned, this book fell very flat for me. Positives: The main character’s voice was very authentic. I liked the concept of dealing with segregation and mixed-race kids, and I thought addressing school system issues and middle graders was a great idea. . Negatives: I was confused by most the book. The plot really went nowhere; the book ends exactly where it starts, with the characters not having grown or changed at all. Scenes jump without scene breaks, characters appear and disappear without notice, and characters draw conclusions not supported by the text, making it a very difficult story to follow. Random interactions occur consistently that do nothing to move the storyline, and the story is full of random and pointless events. No conflict is overcome, it just fades away without resolution or growth. The story was just incredibly weak, as much as I feel bad saying that, strongly lacking morals or themes. There was nothing inherently terrible per se about it, but it was just a really weak novel. Things were explained poorly or not at all; I’m still confused on the setting, and if not for a few—and I mean a few, like maybe three—lines about the girls being mixed race and segregration, I wouldn’t have even be able to tell this time period. The whole concept of switching schools was never fully explained; why they were an experiment, never really explained; just almost nothing was explained. Like the reader is just expected to understand, when in reality, we’re utterly lost. There are instances of misbehavior and references to sexual behavior, but no morality—again, the story strongly lacked in the moral and theme department. Not recommended.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Laura Gardner

    4.5/5 for THE LONG RIDE by @mbudhos . I love perusing the shelves at my local public library. Sometimes I get lucky and find a title I haven't heard of and it turns out to be amazing. The Long Ride by Marina Budhos is a slim #mglit book about three interracial girls in 1971 who are affected by school desegregation via busing. Jamila, Josie and Francesca live in a a mostly white neighborhood in Queens, NY, but all three are mixed race. When the busing experiment is announced, fami 4.5/5 for THE LONG RIDE by @mbudhos . I love perusing the shelves at my local public library. Sometimes I get lucky and find a title I haven't heard of and it turns out to be amazing. The Long Ride by Marina Budhos is a slim #mglit book about three interracial girls in 1971 who are affected by school desegregation via busing. Jamila, Josie and Francesca live in a a mostly white neighborhood in Queens, NY, but all three are mixed race. When the busing experiment is announced, families in their neighborhood are concerned and many parents place their children in private or Catholic schools, including Francesca's parents. Jamila and Josie are initially excited; they'll finally be in a school with Black students. Then they discover that they aren't in the same program; Jamila is in the gifted classes and Josie is falling further behind every day. There are other problems in their new school, as well, like fights and discrimination. Is integration worth the I can't wait to add this book to my school's library collection. The Long Ride is an important book about a topic not covered by any other books in our #historicalfiction section. It's also a quick, accessible read that tackles racism, friendship issues, and the challenges of living between two worlds as someone of mixed-race. Highly recommended for grades 5+. . #middleschoollibrarian #middleschoollibrary #library #librarian #futurereadylibs #iteachlibrary #bookstagrammer #bookstagram #librariesofinstagram #librariansofinstagram #librariesfollowlibraries #librarylife #librarianlife #schoollibrarian #middlegrade #middlegradebooks #iteach #librarylove #booksbooksbooks #amreading #bibliophile #schoollibrariansrock #bookreview #bookrecommendation #igreads #malibrary #msla #mediaspecialist

  8. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Kidwell

    The Long Ride by Marina Budhos Random House Children’s Wendy Lamb Books Children’s Fiction Pub Date 24 Sep 2019 I am reviewing a copy of The Long Ride through Random House Children’s/ Wendy Lamb Books and Netgalley: Jamila Clarke, Josie Rivera and Francesca George are three mixed race girls are close friends whose parents all immigrated to the U.S working hard so they could settle down in a neighborhood with the best schools. The Long Ride by Marina Budhos Random House Children’s Wendy Lamb Books Children’s Fiction Pub Date 24 Sep 2019 I am reviewing a copy of The Long Ride through Random House Children’s/ Wendy Lamb Books and Netgalley: Jamila Clarke, Josie Rivera and Francesca George are three mixed race girls are close friends whose parents all immigrated to the U.S working hard so they could settle down in a neighborhood with the best schools. The girls are outsiders but they have each other until In the tumult of 1970s New York City, seventh graders are bussed from their neighborhood in Queens to integrate a new school in South Jamaica. Jamila and Josie get bussed to the same school but Francesca is sent to a another school. At the start of the seventh grade the girls learn they will be part of an experiment, taking a long bus ride to the brand new school whose goal is to mix black and white kids. Their parents do not want them to be experiments so Francesca parents send her to a private school. Jamila and Josie find themselves having to take the bus without Francesca. While Francesca tests her limits, Josie and Jamila try to establish their footing at a school they really don’t belong in. I give The Long Ride five out of five stars! Happy Reading!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Tanner

    It pains me greatly to call this historical fiction, because I'm about the same age as the girls in the story, who are going into middle school in 1971. These three girls, Jamila, Josie, and Francesca have been best friends their whole lives. But they are going to be bussed to a different neighborhood for racial equality. Francesca's parents decide to put her into private school but Jamila and Josie go for a 45 minute bus ride each way each day to get to school. They don't know anyone so they're It pains me greatly to call this historical fiction, because I'm about the same age as the girls in the story, who are going into middle school in 1971. These three girls, Jamila, Josie, and Francesca have been best friends their whole lives. But they are going to be bussed to a different neighborhood for racial equality. Francesca's parents decide to put her into private school but Jamila and Josie go for a 45 minute bus ride each way each day to get to school. They don't know anyone so they're trying to make new friends and remain friends. Each of them deals with a different part of racism-Francesca wants to be friends and the boys treat her like a sexual object. Josie is put into lower level classes and has to work extra hard to be taken seriously as a student. Jamila is called names and threatened by girls who don't think she's black enough. It's a really interesting story. I liked how all the girls started the book with solid family structure (one of them falls apart during the book) and how the parents also had to deal with different aspects of racism. I thought it was a good story.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sandy O'Brien

    “Oh, darlin’, when you going to learn: Most people never change. It’s the world around them that changed.” Summer of 1971. Jamila, Josie, and Francesca have just found out that they will be bussed to a school in another neighborhood for integration. The trio decides they will face this new school year head on together, but things don’t go as planned. Friendships become strained. Relationships change. They begin to see each other and those around them in a different light. Will they be “Oh, darlin’, when you going to learn: Most people never change. It’s the world around them that changed.” Summer of 1971. Jamila, Josie, and Francesca have just found out that they will be bussed to a school in another neighborhood for integration. The trio decides they will face this new school year head on together, but things don’t go as planned. Friendships become strained. Relationships change. They begin to see each other and those around them in a different light. Will they be able to navigate the new school and the growth of their friendships? • This book give shows how integration affected child, their parents, and the communities they lived in. A historical fiction must read!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Emily Waisanen

    I was privileged to read an ARC of this through the #LitReviewCrew group. What a beautifully told story. I believe Budhos does an incredible job creating the tension and drama of middle school life among three friends, while also introducing the historical drama of integration of students in schools in 1971. This book would pair perfectly with Blended by Sharon Draper. I look forward to adding this book to my classroom. The subject matter and the length are appealing to middle school students.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Abbie

    Marina Budhos's new novel is inspired by her own experiences growing up in New York City, and while there are some parts of the story I enjoyed, the book just didn't really do much for me. Even though it's told from Jamila's perspective, it seems to mostly skim the surface of the school year. Biracial readers need to see themselves reflected in literature, but I'm not sure how much appeal this one will have. Read more at Bookish Adventures.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    * Review is of an advanced reader copy A semi interesting novel about school integration and friendship. Set in New York City in 1971, The Long Ride does a good job of portraying the positive and negative effects of school integration to an audience most likely unfamiliar with the concept. Additionally, author Marina Tamar Budhos has accurately captured the changing dynamics many friendships face as tweens become teens and their interests and lifestyles began to veer in different dire * Review is of an advanced reader copy A semi interesting novel about school integration and friendship. Set in New York City in 1971, The Long Ride does a good job of portraying the positive and negative effects of school integration to an audience most likely unfamiliar with the concept. Additionally, author Marina Tamar Budhos has accurately captured the changing dynamics many friendships face as tweens become teens and their interests and lifestyles began to veer in different directions.

  14. 4 out of 5

    MayorEmma

    I received an arc of this book on netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I liked how this book was different and how it included the bussing and its related controversies. On the other hand, it was a little hard to get into and the cover didn't seem super historically accurate- other than that, it's a good book!

  15. 5 out of 5

    E

    The best part about this was that it was a properly young teen novel! Navigating junior high! With all its mess and challenge. With the added challenge, and rarity of telling the story of an integrating junior high school, and kids who are mixed-race in the early 70's. Well done, authentic and good stuff. Will hand to teens and teachers for sure

  16. 4 out of 5

    Danielle Wood

    I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This is the first historical fiction book I’ve read about bussing in New York. I really enjoyed the characters and how the author didn’t shy away from hard issues. I liked it!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rick Sanchez

    The Long Ride is a beautiful little book, and a welcome guest on my NY bookshelf! It's true that this type of social experiment in the 70s used to happen, and kids from different races had to face this. Big step towards progression, but a confusing time, too.

  18. 4 out of 5

    J.C.

    RTC

  19. 5 out of 5

    Beth Bryden-miller

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia Parkhill

    This work of historical fiction addresses a busing plan in 1970s New York, to integrate a new school. What I thought important to take away from reading this, is that whenever officials plan "experiments"or policies, their actions affect actual people. It's a perspective that is just as important to keep in mind today. In this case, the story protagonists face a long daily bus ride to attend an unfamiliar school. And as mixed-race girls, the story's protagonists face an add This work of historical fiction addresses a busing plan in 1970s New York, to integrate a new school. What I thought important to take away from reading this, is that whenever officials plan "experiments"or policies, their actions affect actual people. It's a perspective that is just as important to keep in mind today. In this case, the story protagonists face a long daily bus ride to attend an unfamiliar school. And as mixed-race girls, the story's protagonists face an additional challenge of not knowing which of their races society expects them to be. Indeed, the story is set only a few short years after mixed-race marriages even became legal. One of the girls receives backlash for dating "outside of" her race - and, in an afterword, the author shares that she faced a similar experience: "At the time, I was speechless, especially since my own race wasn't obvious to me." (I found this ARC among books that were donated by a library vendor.)

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lyndsey

  22. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

  23. 4 out of 5

    Emilie

  24. 5 out of 5

    Martha

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tina

  26. 5 out of 5

    Betsy

  27. 5 out of 5

    Never Without a Book™

  28. 5 out of 5

    Pamela

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Woodard

  30. 5 out of 5

    Daniiii

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