When Kambia Elaine Flew in From Neptune by Lori Aurelia Williams

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Synopsis

So I just made another note to add to my blue notebook later, when the house had cooled off: Tia's nature is boiling out of her like hot soup out of a pot, and Kambia Elaine just flew in from Neptune.

Shayla Dubois lives in a Houston neighborhood known as the Bottom, where life is colorful but never easy. She wants only two things out of life: to become a writer and to have a nice, peaceful home. Instead, her life has been turned upside down. Shayla's mama kicked her sister, Tia, out of the house for messing around with an older guy, and months later Tia still hasn't come home. Shayla's father, Mr. Anderson Fox, has rolled back into town and has been spending a lot of time at the house with Mama. And Shayla still doesn't know what to make of her strange new neighbor, Kambia Elaine.

Kambia tells Shayla the most fantastic stories: that the Lizard People turn into purple chewing gum when the sun comes up; that Memory Beetles gather up and store people's good memories; that she is a piece of driftwood from the Mississippi River. All Shayla knows for sure is that Kambia's mother has a lot of male visitors and that Kambia doesn't look too healthy. When Kambia tells Shayla about the vicious Wallpaper Wolves that hide in her walls to catch bad little girls, Shayla knows something is wrong. But she doesn't know how she can help Kambia when she can't get past her stories, and when Tia still hasn't come home.

Told lyrically and gracefully by debut author Lori Aurelia Williams, When Kambia Elaine Flew in from Neptune shows how complicated life can get when children are forced to grow up too quickly, while it also celebrates the bonds of a strong, loving family.

 

About Lori Aurelia Williams

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Published April 1, 2000 by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing. 256 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for When Kambia Elaine Flew in From Neptune

Publishers Weekly

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From the opening strains of blues guitar on this recording, listeners will feel transported to some place southern, ready to hear a tale with its share of painful moments. They won't be disappointed.

Jan 01 2001 | Read Full Review of When Kambia Elaine Flew in Fr...

Publishers Weekly

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Things are tense and lonely for Shayla after Shayla is kicked out of the house.

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Publishers Weekly

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Kambia, a neglected girl with a wild imagination, moves in next door, telling Shayla stories about her fear of the Wallpaper Wolves who live in her house, and Memory Beetles that carry people's good memories in their chubby bodies.

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Publishers Weekly

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In a starred review of this first novel, about an abused girl who moves in next door to 12-year-old narrator Shayla, PW wrote, "With words that often read more like poetry than prose, Williams creates a complex coming-of-age story that packs an emotional wallop."

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Teen Reads

But when Kambia begs Shayla not to tell anyone about her injuries, Shayla learns, with the help of her wise and opinionated Grandmother Augustine, that sometimes you have to break a promise to protect a friend.

Jan 13 2015 | Read Full Review of When Kambia Elaine Flew in Fr...

Reader Rating for When Kambia Elaine Flew in From Neptune
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