Goodreads ratings
4.12 / 5

"Blended" Summary

By Sharon M. Draper

middle grade | 308 pages | Published in 2018

"You’re so exotic!” “You look so unusual.” “But what are you really?”Eleven-year-old Isabella is used to these kinds of comments - her father is black, her mother is white - but that doesn't mean she likes them. And now that her parents are divorced (and getting along WORSE than ever), Isabella feels more like a push-me-pull-me toy.One week she’s Isabella with her dad, his girlfriend Anastasia, and her son Darren living in a fancy house where they are one of the only black families in the neighborhood. The next week she’s Izzy with her mom and her boyfriend John-Mark in a small, not-so-fancy house that she loves.Being split between Mom and Dad is more than switching houses, switching nicknames, switching backpacks: it’s also about switching identities. If you’re only seen as half of this and half of that, how can you ever feel whole?


Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

Eleven-year-old Isabella navigates the complexities of her mixed-race identity and family dynamics after her parents' divorce in "Blended" by Sharon M. Draper.


"Blended" by Sharon M. Draper is a compelling and poignant young adult novel that delves into the complexities of family, identity, and race. The story follows eleven-year-old Isabella, or Izzy, who navigates the challenges of growing up in a blended, multicultural family. Through Izzy's eyes, readers explore themes of racial identity, belonging, and the power of love.

Brief Synopsis

Plot Overview and Setting

"Blended" is set in contemporary America, primarily in Ohio. The story unfolds against the backdrop of Izzy's life as she shuttles between her divorced parents' homes. Her mother is African American, and her father is white, leading to a unique blend of cultures and experiences in Izzy's life. As she grapples with her biracial identity, she also copes with the challenges of her parents' divorce and their new relationships.

Main Characters

IsabellaAn eleven-year-old girl dealing with the complexities of her biracial identity and the challenges of navigating her parents' divorce.
NanaIzzy's grandmother, who provides guidance and support as Izzy confronts the issues of race, family, and identity.
DadIzzy's white father, who struggles with the demands of co-parenting and his own feelings of guilt and confusion after the divorce.
MomIzzy's African American mother, who works hard to provide for Izzy and her half-brother while dealing with the aftermath of her marriage's dissolution.
Brad and EmmaIzzy's parents' new partners, who enter Izzy's life with their own sets of challenges and adjustments.

Story Points and Summary

Chapter 1-5: Navigating Divorce and Blended Families

Izzy juggles her time between her parents' homes, trying to adapt to their different lifestyles and new partners. She struggles with the changes in her family dynamics and experiences a sense of displacement as she grapples with her racial identity.

Chapter 6-10: Identity and Belonging

As Izzy confronts microaggressions and stereotyping at school, she becomes increasingly aware of the societal pressures related to her biracial identity. She seeks solace in her grandmother's wisdom and love.

Chapter 11-15: Parental Challenges

Izzy's father and mother both encounter their own difficulties as they navigate co-parenting and the complexities of their new relationships. Izzy witnesses the emotional toll it takes on her parents, adding to her own feelings of confusion and insecurity.

Chapter 16-20: Cultural Celebrations and Traditions

Izzy explores and learns about the cultural traditions and celebrations of both her African American and white heritage. She begins to appreciate the richness of her blended cultural background.

Chapter 21-25: Confronting Prejudice

Izzy faces prejudice and racism firsthand, leading her to question her place in the world and the impact of racial bias on her life. Her experiences prompt her to seek understanding and empathy in the face of ignorance and discrimination.

Chapter 26-30: Finding Strength and Resilience

Amidst the challenges, Izzy discovers her inner strength and resilience. She learns to embrace her identity, stand up for herself, and find her voice in a world that often tries to box her in.

Main Events

  • Izzy's parents' divorce and their subsequent relationships.
  • Izzy's experiences with racial prejudice and stereotyping at school and in her community.
  • Cultural celebrations and traditions that help Izzy connect with her heritage.
  • Confrontations with racism and microaggressions, leading to personal growth and understanding.

Themes and Insights


Racial IdentityThe novel explores the complexities of biracial identity and the impact of race on personal identity.
Family DynamicsIt delves into the challenges and dynamics of blended families, divorce, and co-parenting.
ResilienceIzzy's journey highlights the importance of resilience and self-discovery in the face of adversity.
Prejudice and BiasThe novel addresses the impact of prejudice, racism, and microaggressions on individuals and society.


  • The power of love and support in navigating challenges.
  • The importance of understanding and embracing one's cultural heritage.
  • The impact of societal attitudes and biases on personal identity.

Reader's Takeaway

"Blended" offers readers a poignant and thought-provoking exploration of identity, family, and resilience. Through Izzy's experiences, readers gain insight into the complexities of race and the impact of societal attitudes on personal identity. The novel encourages empathy, understanding, and self-discovery, making it a compelling and relatable read for all ages.


In "Blended," Sharon M. Draper delivers a compelling and emotionally resonant narrative that tackles complex themes with sensitivity and insight. The novel's portrayal of Izzy's journey through racial identity, family dynamics, and resilience offers readers a powerful and thought-provoking exploration of the human experience. Draper's storytelling prowess shines through in this impactful and compelling work, making "Blended" a must-read for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the complexities of race, identity, and family dynamics.

Blended FAQ

  1. What is the genre of 'Blended' by Sharon M. Draper?

    The genre of 'Blended' is young adult fiction.

  2. What is the main theme of 'Blended'?

    The main themes of 'Blended' include racial identity, family dynamics, and coming of age.

  3. What is the setting of 'Blended'?

    The story is set in Cincinnati, Ohio, and revolves around the life of eleven-year-old Isabella, who is dealing with the challenges of having divorced parents from different racial backgrounds.

  4. What age group is 'Blended' suitable for?

    The book is suitable for readers aged 10 and above.

  5. What are some important topics explored in 'Blended'?

    The book addresses topics such as racial identity, cultural differences, divorce, and the challenges of blended families.