Twelve-year-old Shay’s palms itch when she senses trouble coming, and this year, they seem to be itching more than ever. She and her elementary school besties had dubbed themselves “the United Nations”—Isabella is Puerto Rican, Julia is Japanese-American, and Shay is African-American—but everyone begins moving in different directions as junior high begins. Julia is hanging out more with the Asian girls from her basketball team, and Isabella attracts Shay’s crush when she gets her braces off, leaving Shay jealous. In addition, Shay’s sister, Hana, critiques her for not having black friends, something that Shay isn’t sure matters. Meanwhile, in their city of Los Angeles, tensions are high over the trial of a police officer who shot an unarmed black man. When the officer is set free, and Shay goes with her family to a silent protest, she starts to see that some trouble is worth making. Ramée effectively portrays the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement and the difficulty of navigating complex social situations while conveying universal middle school questions about friendship, first crushes, and identity. Shay’s journey is an authentic and engaging political and personal awakening. Ages 8–12. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 12/24/2018 Release date: 03/12/2019 Genre: Children's
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