cover image Honest June (Honest June #1)

Honest June (Honest June #1)

Tina Wells with Stephanie Smith, illus. by Brittney Bond. Random House, $13.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-593-37829-8

To keep others happy, 11-year-old June Jackson, who is Black, tells mistruths about everything from liking collard greens to wanting to go to Howard University. Though she feels pressure to live up to her parents’ professional success, June believes that sixth grade (“Prime time. The big leagues”) in her Atlanta suburb will be smooth sailing if she keeps quiet about the stress of getting perfect grades; doing field hockey, debate, and newspaper; and somehow making time for friends. When June enters a carnival fun house two weeks into the school year, a fairy godmother calls her out on her lying and grants her a superpower: the power to only tell the truth. Scared of her new inability to lie, June starts a blog, Honest June, where she can place her “private truths,” planning to otherwise remain silent. But as building pressures cause further anxiety, June is forced to consider who she is and what she really wants. Wells (the Mackenzie Blue series) and Smith offer a clear message about the dangers of repressing one’s needs and wants to appease others. Occasional b&w cartoon-style art by newcomer Bond centers character interaction. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. Illustrator’s agent: Kate Kendrick, Astound US. (Dec.)