Say It Out Loud

Allison Varnes. Random House, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-5247-7151-5
With an authentic tween voice and relatable implied-white characters, Varnes’s (Property of the Rebel Librarian) second novel centers Charlotte Andrews, a bespectacled musical lover who has a stutter and fears letting anyone hear it. Charlotte and her outspoken best friend, Maddie Hobson, are new sixth graders at Carol Burnett Middle School, and the duo will be riding the bus for the first time. Despite having Maddie by her side, Charlotte is deeply self-conscious about her stutter. When Maddie gets involved after witnessing a bullying incident on the bus, the bullies turn their sights on her, and Charlotte inadvertently hurts Maddie to protect herself. Suddenly, Charlotte finds herself adrift, agonizing over leaving class for speech sessions, trying to stay out of anyone’s crosshairs, and learning about her own voice—particularly how little gestures can make a big difference. When the musical theater class her parents enrolled her in is threatened, Charlotte must decide if she’s willing to publicly stand up for something she believes in. Middle grade readers will find reassurance in this affirming story of choosing kindness and making amends. Front matter includes an author’s note. Ages 8–12. Agent: Rick Richter, Aevitas Creative Management. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 08/18/2021
Release date: 08/24/2021
Genre: Children's
Book - 978-1-5247-7153-9
Library Binding - 256 pages - 978-1-5247-7152-2
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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