cover image Serena Says

Serena Says

Tanita S. Davis. HarperCollins/Tegen, $16.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-06-293697-4

Eleven-year-old Serena St. John, who is Black, does not like to stand out, unlike her best friend, outgoing JC, who is Filipina and has always been “funnier and louder and more confident than everyone.” But when Serena’s untimely cold following JC’s kidney transplant puts JC in the path of a replacement best friend—Hawaiian Leilani, who is seemingly perfect and has cool older brothers—Serena has to figure who she is outside her now-former best friend’s shadow. Serena is a smart, intuitive Black girl with relatable fears and insecurities; via school projects and a vlog series that slowly improves as the book progresses, she decides she’s ready to step into the spotlight all on her own. Through Serena and her close-knit family and friends, Davis capably touches on matters of chronic illness, mental health, and friendship growing pains in this quiet but impactful slice-of-life novel. Ages 8–12. [em]Agent: Steve Chudney, the Chudney Agency. (Nov.) [/em]