Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Thanks to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for giving me a free digital copy of this book to review.
Summary: Alberta has long been the only black girl in her seventh grade class. It’s as much a part of who she is as having two dads and loving surfing. So when Edie and her mom buy the bed and breakfast across the street, Alberta is surprised to learn that they are black…and that Edie is just her age. The two become friends, causing a rift between Alberta and her best friend Laramie, who starts hanging out with the cool eighth graders. When Edie discovers some old journals in the attic of the B&B, she and Alberta get drawn into a mystery involving the identity of a young woman who moved to California in the 1950’s. What they discover about her ends up revealing the racism that has persisted in their town to the present day. Seventh grade is never easy, but Albert comes through the first half of it with a greater appreciation for her friends, family, and community. 369 pages; grades 4-7.
Pros: This was one of the most enjoyable middle grade novels I’ve read this year. The characters, middle school angst, and dialogue were spot on, and the mystery was a fun way to explore the past and how it influences the present.
Cons: I like it when there’s a little depth to the mean girl, but in this case, she seemed to just be a horrible person.