Don’t Judge Me

Lisa Schroeder. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-338-62854-8
Offering a strong message about toxic masculinity, this heartfelt contemporary novel set in small-town Oregon begins when two best friends—shy, body-conscious Hazel and outspoken, confident Tori—learn in the first days of class that their middle school has a “jerk problem.” The strict dress code targets girls; two boys who trip them in the halls each day receive no punishment; and new student Dion, who “liked poetry and cried because his feelings were hurt,” is bullied. When tortoise-lover Hazel discovers a notebook in which boys rank female classmates’ looks and leave degrading comments, she doesn’t want to dismiss the problem by retreating into her shell. Determined to speak out, Hazel hosts a “girl power” party and gains support for creating a safe learning environment, eventually finding the courage to confront their intimidating male principal. Using a first-person narrative, Schroeder (See You on a Starry Night) eloquently traces Hazel’s metamorphosis from fearful onlooker to brave activist, while highlighting lessons she learns along the way. Ages 8–12. Agent: Sara Crowe, Pippin Properties. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 10/15/2020
Release date: 11/10/2020
Genre: Children's
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