cover image Something to Say

Something to Say

Lisa Moore Ramée, illus. by Bre Indigo. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $16.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-283671-7

Ultra-introvert Jenae, 11, lives in Los Angeles with her mother, her older brother (home from college with a basketball injury), and her grandfather. On her first day at John Wayne Junior High, Jenae learns of a growing conflict over her school’s name, her English teacher details a semester of public speaking, and obnoxious new kid Aubrey Banks reveals that both kids are fans of a popular YouTuber. Though Jenae doesn’t often make friends, believing that her feelings affect others’ actions (she blames herself for her brother’s accident and her father’s leaving), she reluctantly lets Aubrey in. When the first speech looms, however, Jenae is willing to lose the friendship and lie to her family to avoid it. Though the girl’s aversion to public speaking ends rather abruptly, her insecurities and feelings of invisibility are age appropriate and well developed. Numerous subplots—the school name-change debate, Jenae’s grandfather’s deteriorating health, and her brother’s worrisome sulking—help lead Ramée’s (A Good Kind of Trouble) story to a laudable culmination. Indigo’s digital character sketches appear throughout. Ages 8–12. [em]Author’s agent: Brenda Bowen, the Book Group. (July) [/em]