Anywhere but Paradise

  • Interest Level: Grade 5 - Grade 12
  • Reading Level: Grade 5

Moving from Texas to Hawaii in 1960, 12-year-old Peggy Sue faces a difficult transition when she is bulled as one of the few haole (white) students in her school. This lyrical debut novel is perfect for Common Core classroom connections.

It’s 1960 and Peggy Sue has just been transplanted from Texas to Hawaii for her father’s new job. Her cat, Howdy, is stuck in animal quarantine, and she’s baffled by Hawaiian customs and words. Worst of all, eighth-grader Kiki Kahana targets Peggy Sue because she is haole—white—warning her that unless she does what Kiki wants, she will be a victim on “kill haole day,” the last day of school. Peggy Sue’s home ec teacher insists that she help Kiki with her sewing project or risk failing. Life looks bleak until Peggy Sue meets Malina, whose mother gives hula lessons. But when her parents take a trip to Hilo, leaving Peggy Sue at Malina’s, life takes an unexpected twist in the form of a tsunami. Peggy Sue is knocked unconscious and wakes to learn that her parents’ whereabouts are unknown. Peggy Sue has to summon all her courage to have hope that they will return safely.

Format Your Price Add
Interest Level Grade 5 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 5
Copyright 2015
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Carolrhoda Books ®
Language English
Number of Pages 288
Publication Date 2015-01-01
Text Type Fiction
BISACS JUV016150, JUV039230, JUV001000
Dewey [Fic]
Dimensions 5.375 x 8.25
Lexile 550
ATOS Reading Level 3.7
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 174029
Accelerated Reader® Points 5.0
Features Author/Illustrator note, Awards, Glossary, Reviewed, and Table of contents


  • H-E-B Award/Jean Flynn Award for Best Children’s Book Finalist, Commended, 2015


Publishers Weekly

“Bustard adeptly weaves elements of Hawaiian culture, lore, and history into an emotionally rich story.” —Publishers Weekly

Kirkus Reviews

“[T]his coming-of-age tale offers a vivid, accessible portrait of a fascinating time and place.” —Kirkus Reviews

Author: Anne Bustard

Anne Bustard is the former co-owner of the children's bookstore Toad Hall Bookshop in Austin and an MFA graduate of Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her picture book biography, Buddy: The Story of Buddy Holly (S&S/Wiseman 2005) was an IRA Notable Book and a Bank Street Book of the Year. Like Peggy Sue, Anne has lived in both Texas and Hawaii. The author lives in Austin, Texas.