A new friend brings Jenae new challenges that move her out of her comfort zone.
On the first day of junior high, Jenae doesn’t have any friends, and she feels invisible. Then she meets redhead Aubrey, who is also Black, and he’s a huge fan of “Astrid Dane,” Jenae’s favorite YouTube show. Aubrey is loud and un–self-conscious while Jenae just wants to fade into the background. A class debate assignment is Jenae’s worst nightmare but a dream come true for Aubrey, who aspires to join the debate team. When they partner up, can Jenae face her fear of public speaking—and will her friendship with Aubrey survive? Jenae’s funny, candid voice makes her instantly endearing. Readers will also relate to her relationships with her tough-but-loving mother, her big brother, and her grandpa, who encourages Jenae to speak up. Fans of Ramée’s A Good Kind of Trouble (2019) will appreciate the subplot involving a controversial proposal to change the name of Jenae’s school, from John Wayne Junior High to Sylvia Mendez Junior High, to honor the Mexican American girl who integrated a California school years before Brown v. Board of Education. Indigo’s grayscale illustrations punctuate the generously leaded text.
A timely, entertaining, unforgettable story about family, friendship, and finding your voice.(Fiction. 8-12)