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K-12 Evaluated Resource Collection

What We Buried

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Author/Publisher/Website: Boorman, K. A.
Copyright: 2019
Evaluation/Record Entry Date: May/2019
Submitting suppliers/Website: Not Available
Primary Identifier: 9781250191670
Recommended Grades and Subjects/Courses: 9-12
(View recommended grades and subjects) English Language Arts

Resource Description

Sixteen-year-old reality TV star Liv is suing her parents for emancipation and her eighteen-year-old brother Jory, afflicted with partial facial paralysis from birth, views the entire situation as a spectacle, but on the day of the court hearing their parents vanish and as the siblings join forces on a road trip to locate their parents, they explore their own memories, relationships, and identities. This psychological thriller details the thoughts and actions of each sibling in a split narrative, and deals with contemporary issues of social media, pop culture, digital literacy, mental health, body image, and personal identity. Suitable as a class, literature circle, or individual novel.

CURRICULUM FIT

Does the resource support BC curriculum?
Extensively
This product supports the Core Competencies of the BC curriculum:
Communication
Creative Thinking
Critical thinking
Positive Personal and Cultural Identity
Personal Awareness and Responsibility
Social Responsibility
Comments:
The novel, What We Buried, is a split narrative of two siblings as they try to find their parents who have disappeared. It falls within the mystery genre with elements of the supernatural. Each chapter uses point of view and structure to interpret plot, conflict, and theme. The writing style is straightforward and uses contemporary pop culture references to explore themes related to social identity, mental health and coming of age. It connects to the English Language Arts curriculum Big Ideas relating to "deepening understanding of one's identity" and "texts are socially, culturally" constructed which are a common thread in English Language Arts.

SOCIAL CONSIDERATIONS

Gender Roles, Identity & Sexual Orientation:
One of the main characters experiences pressure as a female to conform to social standards of attractiveness. This includes her social media images, receiving "likes" and body image issues. The portrayal is realistic and timely.
Violence:
There is some violence in the final section of the book as the main characters confront their parents. It is not graphic, but a fire involving people and a physical altercation is a key aspect to the resolution. This may need to be guided with younger learners.
Language:
There are a few minor curse words. One of the protagonists also uses euphemisms rather than the actual curse words.
Do the social considerations support, rather than detract from, student learning?
Extensively
Social Considerations Comments:
The two main characters, Jory and Liv, explore their identity throughout their individual narratives. Jory has partial facial paralysis from birth and experiences life being judged for how he looks. He also experiences mental health issues. Liv is a reality TV star immersed in social media. Her identity is tied to how she is perceived by others, body image issues, and questioning of her sexuality. This novel represents a contemporary context of growing up in our current culture.

GENERAL CONTENT

Content
Should this product be identified as Canadian?
Yes
Is the resource engaging?
Extensively
Is the content current for the intended curriculum and grade?
Extensively
Is the content accurate for the intended curriculum and grade?
Extensively
Is the content timely and important for student broad understandings?
Extensively
This resource supports the characteristics of Aboriginal worldviews and perspectives:
Connectedness and Relationship
Awareness of History
Engagement with the Land, Nature, the Outdoors
Emphasis on Identity
Audience:
Is the content appropriate to the emotional maturity and cognitive level of students?
Extensively
Does the resource provide opportunities for creative and critical thinking?
Extensively
Is the level of detail appropriate?
Extensively
Is the content of particular interest to male students?
Extensively
Is the content of particular interest to female students?
Extensively
Is the language use appropriate to the emotional maturity and cognitive level of students?
Extensively
Comments:
Although this novel is set in the United States, Kate A. Boorman is an award-winning writer from the Canadian prairies. As the novel is written in a split narrative, both male and female students have the opportunity to identify with a main protagonist as they explore their identities. The reactions of each character within the novel also reflect the nature of growing up in a digital age.

TECHNICAL DESIGN

Does the resource make effective use of the medium?
Extensively
Is the resource easy to use?
Extensively
Is the use of font, text size and presentation uniform?
Extensively
Comments:
The medium of this novel is standard hardcover/paperback. There are no illustrations and the text is easy to read.

PRINT NOVEL

Does the text show insight into the complexity of the human condition?
Extensively
Does the text broaden students’ experiences and understanding?
Extensively
To what degree is this text stylistically rich?
Extensively
Plot description:
Kate A. Boorman's What We Buried is a psychological thriller that uses a split narrative of two siblings, Liv and Jory. Liv is suing her mom and dad for emancipation and Jory sees it as a spectacle. But on the day of the hearing, their parents mysteriously vanish, and the siblings are forced to work together. Together, they explore their memories, relationships, and identities as they search for their missing parents.
Related Comments:
From a literary perspective, it uses the devices of theme, symbol, point of view, conflict, character development, unreliable narrator, and dialogue. Inference and allusion to the contemporary issues such a social media, digital literacy, mental health, and personal identity are explored within each chapter.
Genre:
Contemporary
Mystery / Suspense
Literary Highlights:
Complex conflict
Well-developed themes
Point of view
Type:
Novel

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS

Readability:
At intended grade level(s)

SUGGESTED CLASSROOM USAGE

Comments:
The novel references pop culture and current technology trends while using age-appropriate vocabulary. Thus, it could be used a class novel study, individual silent reading, or in a literature circle with a small group of students.
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