Review of Something to Say

Something to Say
by Lisa Moore Ramée; illus. by Bre Indigo
Intermediate, Middle School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    373 pp.    g
7/20    978-0-06-283671-7    $16.99
e-book ed.  978-0-06-283673-1    $9.99

Janae is a loner and plans to keep it that way in middle school, that is, until she meets outgoing, audacious Aubrey, who is determined to be friends. Preferring to stay in the background, Janae is instead confronted with her greatest fear — public speaking — when there is a movement to rename her school, John Wayne Junior High, to honor social justice activist Sylvia Mendez. Janae certainly has thoughts on the matter but is reluctant to voice them because she believes her thoughts make bad things happen — her brother’s sports injury, her parents’ divorce, her grandfather’s stroke. Imagine what could happen if she ever decided to share her beliefs aloud. This accessible novel has a great deal to say about challenging family dynamics, friendships, and social change. Janae’s story, layered with her social anxiety and mistaken belief that she is the cause of her family’s problems, is complicated but relatable. Her journey toward finding her voice should inspire readers who are likewise searching for theirs. Occasional black-and-white spot art reflects the protagonist’s personality and worldview.

From the September/October 2020 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Monique Harris

Monique Harris is a public educator, reading specialist and independent educational consultant. She holds a Master of Science degree in Education from Simmons University. She resides in Boston, Massachusetts.

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