About the Book
Hardcover : 336 pages
ISBN-10 : 1536212105
ISBN-13 : 978-1536212105
Publisher : Candlewick (October 13, 2020)
Language: : English
Think you know what rural America is like? Discover a plurality of perspectives in this enlightening anthology of stories that turns preconceptions on their head.
Gracie sees a chance of fitting in at her South Carolina private school, until a “white trash”-themed Halloween party has her steering clear of the rich kids. Samuel’s Tejano family has both stood up to oppression and been a source of it, but now he’s ready to own his true sexual identity. A Puerto Rican teen in Utah discovers that being a rodeo queen means embracing her heritage, not shedding it. . . .
For most of America’s history, rural people and culture have been casually mocked, stereotyped, and, in general, deeply misunderstood. Now an array of short stories, poetry, graphic short stories, and personal essays, along with anecdotes from the authors’ real lives, dives deep into the complexity and diversity of rural America and the people who call it home. Fifteen extraordinary authors – diverse in ethnic background, sexual orientation, geographic location, and socioeconomic status – explore the challenges, beauty, and nuances of growing up in rural America. From a mountain town in New Mexico to the gorges of New York to the arctic tundra of Alaska, you’ll find yourself visiting parts of this country you might not know existed – and meet characters whose lives might be surprisingly similar to your own.
Praise for Rural VoicesThe writers bring authentic voices to their work in addition to their biographies, shared at the back of the book. This collection will be a high-interest read for middle and high school students…This book is a must-purchase for libraries serving middle and high school readers. —School Library Connection
The compilation successfully meets the challenge of serving as a cohesive whole while providing readers with enough variety of tone, pace, and voice to keep the reading experience interesting. A fresh and highly accessible contribution. —Kirkus Reviews
From laughing out loud to holding back tears, readers who enjoy emotionally resonant books will not be disappointed. Those from similar geographic areas will be nodding their heads while every reader, regardless of location, will connect to the universal triumphs and tribulations of teen life. Fans of Rainbow Rowell will dive headfirst into this collection. A great addition that explores an often misrepresented portion of readers. —School Library Journal
Where has this book been all my life? Growing up in rural America, you swiftly realize people don’t quite understand just how rural (or what rural mens honestly) rural America can be. And it can be frustrating when people don’t understand or make assumptions. And this book gets it right. There are things to love when living in a rural community. And things to hate. But to me that type of living will also always be home.
I haven’t had a chance to go “home” in years. And where I grew up will always be home because I miss being that rural. When I moved to the place I’m currently in I had to deal with people telling me it is rural, when in my eyes it’s a city. So, to say I’m a bit homesick would be hitting the nail on the head. And this book really helped to bring a little slice of home back into my life. People just don’t get what rurality is because they don’t know. Unless you grow up in a town people from an hour away wouldn’t even know about you don’t really have anything to go off of. And then trying to understand the complexities and layers of rurality on top of that makes it even more difficult. But this book gets it right. It has those layers. It has the complexities. And it has the good and the bad. Rural living is a way of life for many and while it may not be for everyone, to me it will always make a place a home.
This book is so meaningful to me. Growing up in a rural town I never felt like my experiences were represented in books and movies and tv shows. It’s just something that nobody seems to understand unless they live it. And while I definitely took advantage of it and couldn’t wait to “get out,” now I miss living in such a small community. There are the positives and the negatives, the diversity (it exists, I promise!) and the prejudice, and there are things to love and hate, but I will always seek out a rural community over a city.
About the Author
Guest Author Post
Ten Reasons to Read Rural Voices
by Monica Roe
As a rural-born reader and writer, I’ve often been frustrated by how hard it can be to find accurate, non-stereotypical portrayals of rural culture—which is why I’m so excited about the upcoming launch of Rural Voices! Honestly, there are way more than ten reasons to check out this fantastic anthology that hits bookshelves next month. But here are some of my personal favorites.
10. Authors Who Know Their Stuff: Every single contributor actually IS rural. Most are born-and-raised, while some moved to rural communities a bit later—but they all clearly know, understand, and respect rural places and people on a deep and authentic level.
9. Read About Something Different: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 97% of the country’s landmass is made up of rural areas—but less than 20% of the population lives there. Reading Rural Voices is a great way to start learning about those lesser-known (and often misrepresented) parts of our huge country.
8. Representation, Representation, Representation: Many people don’t realize how diverse rural America is—a misconception often reinforced by popular media portrayals. The stories—and authors—of RV include a refreshingly more varied—and accurate—representation of life in the many different corners of rural America.
7. Sweet Romance: For the romance lovers out there, several stories include endearingly romantic storylines. Check out Best in Show and Close Enough for adorable explorations of first love in all its messy, confusing glory.
6. Creep Factor: Prefer chills up the spine over romantic feels? No problem! Several stories, like The Cabin and The Hole of Dark Kill Hollow, may have you flicking on every light in the house before you finish. You’ve been warned.
5. Fierce Friendships: High school is confusing, exhilarating, and awful—sometimes all on the same day. But good friends can make all the difference. For deep explorations of friends and friendships, check out stories like Fish and Fences and Black Nail Polish.
4. Herbert!!!: Okay, this may be personal preference, but Herbert the 4H Pig is officially my favorite RV character. Head over to Tirzah Price’s unforgettable f/f county-fair romance, Best in Show, to meet him. Be forewarned—he’s a tragic hero (perhaps Hamlet would have been an appropriate name…).
3. Subverting the (Overused) Escape Narrative: I’ll bet you’ve read stories where a young, rural protagonist hates their hometown and is counting down to the day they buy a one-way ticket out. Sound familiar? The rural escape narrative is a trope that’s been done to death—frequently by non-rural writers. Yes, some rural kids long for a more urban environment—but plenty are happy in their rural communities and see no need to “escape.” Check out stories like Home Waits or The (Unhealthy) Breakfast Club to meet characters who are smart, talented…and love the rural places that raised them.
2. Life is Complicated. People are, Too: Most people have complicated relationships with where they’re from. Those of us from rural areas are no different. Rural areas struggle with specific challenges and problems, much of it due to longstanding issues of access and equality, and this undeniably shapes part of the rural experience. Many stories in RV touch upon some of the more complex aspects of growing up rural and don’t shy away from the harder bits. But, as with any marginalized or underrepresented group, rural challenges are best understood—and written about—by those with the inside experience and context to create a nuanced and accurate portrayal.
1. Smashing Stereotypes: The thing I love best about this collection is that it does so much to deconstruct the hurtful, harmful, and often downright inaccurate stereotypes that exist about rural people and places. Hopefully, people will enjoy reading the stories as much as we enjoyed writing them!
ABOUT MONICA ROE
Monica Roe was born and raised in a small dairy farming community at the norther end of the Appalachia and is proud first-generation university graduate. While she was studying at Vermont College of Fine Arts, her thesis, entitled “Taking Out the Trash—Confronting Stereotypes of Rural and Blue-Collar Culture in Young Adult Literature and the MFA Academy,” was awarded VCFA’s critical thesis prize. Her first novel, Thaw, was published in 2008. She is also a physical therapist and divides her time between Alaska, where she clinically practices in several northwestern bush communities, and rural South Carolina, where she and her family own a small apiary.
5 Winners will receive a Copy of RURAL VOICES Edited by Nora Shalaway Carpenter
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