As I mentioned in my Tuesday Teaser, the book I read for this Saturday’s post was Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams.

I dearly LOVE debut novels, and this one was written by a teacher!

Winner of several awards, this endearing novel is perfect for middle school students, middle grades, 5th through 8th.

In an authentic voice, Genesis, now in middle school looks back on 5th grade, when some “mean girls” start a list of “Things we hate about Genesis.” Instead of disregarding it, Genesis then saved it and even, over the semesters, added to it, listing things she hated about herself. The greatest of these was her appearance: too nappy-haired, too lanky, and most of all, too dark. Genesis was NOT like her mother, but looked just like her father. Little did she know that her father had a deep, dark, secret that caused him to hate himself too–to the point that he drank too much.

Genesis’s changing schools and having to go through making new friends (not that she had any anyway) is the plot of the story. Themes of loyalty to friends, self-esteem, body shaming, OCD and other “eccentricities,” and family secrets unfold as the story grabs the reader by the collar and marches her/him through the angst of middle school. We suffer with Genesis, laugh sometimes with her, wish alongside her that things will be different this time.

It is a darned good read.

Author: Rae Longest

This year (2019) finds me with 50 years of teaching "under my belt." I have taught all levels from pre-K "(library lady" or "book lady"--volunteer) to juniors, seniors, and graduate students enrolled in my Advanced Writing class at the university where I have just completed 30 years. My first paying teaching job was junior high, and I spent 13 years with ages 12-13, the "difficult years." I had some of the "funnest" experiences with this age group. When I was no longer the "young, fun teacher," I taught in an elementary school setting before sixth graders went on to junior high, teaching language arts blocs, an assignment that was a "dream-fit" for me. After completing graduate school in my 40s, I went on to community college, then university teaching. Just as teaching is "in my blood," so is a passion for reading, writing, libraries, and everything bookish. This blog will be open to anyone who loves books, promotes literacy and wants to "come out and play."


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