cover image Hazel’s Theory of Evolution

Hazel’s Theory of Evolution

Lisa Jenn Bigelow. HarperCollins, $16.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-279117-7

Eighth-grader Hazel, who is white, isn’t happy about being redistricted to a new Michigan middle school. Although classmates at her old school teased her about her family’s goat farm, where she lives with her interracial mothers (one African-American and one white) and brother Rowan, at least she had a best friend, Becca, who understood her. Starting somewhere new without Becca isn’t Hazel’s only concern, however. After enduring two miscarriages, one of her moms is pregnant again, and Hazel is afraid that history will repeat itself. She wishes she could hibernate, but then two other outsiders befriend her: transgender girl Carina and Yosh, who sports a green Mohawk and uses a wheelchair. Meanwhile, Hazel feels increasingly distanced from Becca, who is busy with her new cheerleading friends, including the bully who dubbed Hazel “goat girl” in kindergarten. This tale traces Hazel’s inner metamorphosis as she navigates change at home and at school. Drawing parallels between Hazel and the misunderstood creatures she reads about in her beloved set of animal encyclopedias, Bigelow (Drum Roll, Please) celebrates intersectional diversity with her cast of well-drawn characters. Through a relatable first-person narrative, she also addresses universal conflicts adolescents face while paying tribute to their individuality. Ages 8–12. [em](Oct.) [/em]