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A Good Kind of Trouble
Contributor(s): Ramee, Lisa Moore

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ISBN: 0062836684     ISBN-13: 9780062836687
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
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Binding Type: Hardcover
Published: March 2019


From debut author Lisa Moore Ramée comes this funny and big-hearted debut middle grade novel about friendship, family, and standing up for what’s right, perfect for fans of Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give and the novels of Renée Watson and Jason Reynolds.

Twelve-year-old Shayla is allergic to trouble. All she wants to do is to follow the rules. (Oh, and she’d also like to make it through seventh grade with her best friendships intact, learn to run track, and have a cute boy see past her giant forehead.)

But in junior high, it’s like all the rules have changed. Now she’s suddenly questioning who her best friends are and some people at school are saying she’s not black enough. Wait, what?

Shay’s sister, Hana, is involved in Black Lives Matter, but Shay doesn't think that's for her. After experiencing a powerful protest, though, Shay decides some rules are worth breaking. She starts wearing an armband to school in support of the Black Lives movement. Soon everyone is taking sides. And she is given an ultimatum.

Shay is scared to do the wrong thing (and even more scared to do the right thing), but if she doesn't face her fear, she'll be forever tripping over the next hurdle. Now that’s trouble, for real.

Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Sisters; Juvenile fiction.
Black lives matter movement; Juvenile fiction.
Identity (Psychology); Juvenile fiction.
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Fiction | School & Education
- Juvenile Fiction | Social Issues | Prejudice & Racism
- Juvenile Fiction | Social Issues | Friendship
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2018289712
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 4-6, Age 9-11
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 8.50" H x 6.00" W x 1.25" (0.95 lbs) 358 pages
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2019 Fall)
A schoolwide "dare" game and new social dynamics throw all of African American seventh grader Shayla's relationships into turmoil. She also becomes increasingly aware of the Black Lives Matter movement when the officer in a police-shooting case is acquitted. Shayla's first-person account is honest and accessible, her emotional and civic maturation believably portrayed. Ramie's debut novel presents a nuanced view of race, self-discovery, and social justice. Copyright 2019 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2019 #2)
Shayla's goals for her first year of junior high are simple. Attract the attention of the cute guy. Avoid the class bully. Don't make waves. Stay close to her two best friends, Isabella and Julia (with Isabella being Puerto Rican, Julia Japanese American, and Shayla African American, they call themselves "the United Nations"). Unfortunately, it would seem that seventh grade has other plans for Shayla, and soon a schoolwide "dare" game and new social dynamics throw all of her relationships into turmoil. Even as she laments the drama that comes with crushes and miscommunication, Shayla becomes increasingly aware of the Black Lives Matter movement as her Los Angeles community awaits the verdict in a police-shooting case. When the police officer is acquitted, Shayla must decide if she's willing to stir up trouble for a cause she believes in. Shayla's first-person account is honest and relatable as she tries to do the right thing by her peers, her school community, and herself. The protagonist's emotional and civic maturation is believably portrayed, and as her understanding of the Black Lives Matter movement clarifies and deepens, so does the reader's. (While themes of homophobia, cultural appropriation, and sexual harassment are also introduced, they're not as fully explored.) Ramée's debut novel presents a nuanced view of race, self-discovery, and social justice. eboni njoku March/April 2019 p 88 Copyright 2019 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2018 December #4)

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.)

Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2019 February)

Gr 4–8—Twelve-year-old Shayla is just starting middle school. She and her friends, Isabella and Julia, aka "The United Nations" because of their diverse backgrounds, want to stick together just like they did in elementary school. They soon discover that middle school is different and conflicts with friends and crushes ensue. In the midst of the typical middle school angst, a not guilty VERDICT in a legal case concerning a police officer shooting an African American man is announced and Shayla begins to relate to the Black Lives Matter movement in a way she never has before. Shayla, always trouble-averse, ends up challenging her school's administration when black armbands are banned. She grows through the experience and becomes more comfortable in her own skin. The author does a beautiful job illustrating the pain a family goes through in the wake of such a ruling. Reminiscent in writing style to works by Lauren Myracle and Jason Reynolds, this novel starts by showing Shayla having typical middle school problems, then switches to the very specific problems she faces as a young black girl in America. There is also a powerful subplot concerning Shayla's changing perception of her lab partner, Bernard, an African American boy, who she sees as a bully at the beginning of the novel and slowly comes to see as having been boxed into that role by systemic bias. VERDICT Give this to middle grade readers who aren't yet ready for Angie Thomas's The Hate U Give. Highly recommended.—Kristin Lee Anderson, Jackson County Library Services, OR

Copyright 2019 School Library Journal.
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