cover image Genesis Begins Again

Genesis Begins Again

Alicia D. Williams. Atheneum, $17.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-4814-6580-9

Genesis Anderson is a fragile middle schooler whose turbulent home life and drive for acceptance fuel this emotionally rich debut. Forced to start over time and again because of a series of evictions, Genesis has a dearth of self-confidence (and a list of 96 reasons that she hates herself) and trouble making new friends. That slowly begins to change when her African-American family moves to an upscale white suburb, and Genesis has to find her footing in an entirely new environment. While some students uphold the same racist ideas she’s familiar with, others treat her with a depth of compassion that has her questioning the colorism that’s seeped into her own psyche. It’s agonizing to follow Genesis through attempts to bleach her skin to fit in, but the lows only make her triumphs feel sweeter as she slowly begins to find strengths she never suspected she possessed, friends who love and accept her, and a mentor who encourages her to let herself shine. With its relatable and sympathetic protagonist, complex setting, and exceptional emotional range, this title is easy to recommend. Ages 9–13. [em](Jan.) [/em]