Balzer + Bray (Harper Collins), paperback, June 2016, ISBN-13: 9780062490216

The Laura Line

Thirteen-year-old Laura Dyson wants two things in life: to be accepted by her classmates and to be noticed by ultra-cute baseball star Troy Bailey. But everyone at school—especially the popular Pink Chips—makes fun of her for being overweight, and Troy won’t give her a second glance. Until their history teacher puts Laura front and center by announcing a field trip to the old rundown slave shack on her grandmother’s property. Heck to the power of no way!

Her grandmother insists that it’s more than just a shack; it’s a monument to the strong women in their family—the Laura Line. Something to be proud of. But Laura knows better: If her classmates can’t accept her for who she is now, they never will once they see the shack. So she comes up with the perfect plan to get the field trip canceled. But when a careless mistake puts the shack—and the Laura Line—in jeopardy, Laura must decide what’s truly important to her. Can Laura figure out how to get what she wants at school, while also honoring her family’s past?

From author Crystal Allen comes a touching and funny story of one girl’s path to figuring out where she came from, and the unlimited possibilities of who she can become.


“…the protagonist’s emotional transformation will resonate with readers. Generational bonds, notably the growth of the relationship between Laura and her grandmother, are beautifully depicted. With its humor and deep reverence for history, Allen’s novel is an engaging treatment of the oft-told tale of looking within for beauty and strength.”
School Library Journal

“Laura’s sassy voice and her willingness to bend instead of break will appeal to readers, and perhaps show them a different way of dealing.”

“Laura Dyson’s sweet, sassy voice draws you into this delightful story of self-discovery and acceptance, unwavering friendship and the deep roots of one amazing family.”
—Donna Gephart, author of Olivia Bean, Trivia Queen

Kids Reviews

“This story is about a 7th grade girl trying to figure out the secrets of her ancestors with the help of her friends and family. This book brings out mixed emotions. The best part of this book is solving all the secrets. I recommend The Laura Line to book lovers/ big readers and readers that like realistic fiction, history, mystery and a lot of suspense! I think this book would be good for 3rd and 4th graders. I really liked this book because it had a lot of uncertainty and I wanted to know what will happen next. This is one of my favorite books because you want to read more and more to find out the answer to the questions.”