Perfect, emotional YA book

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This hadn’t been on my radar much before its release but I saw a couple reviews that convinced me to buy a copy and I’m so glad that I did! I devoured this book in a day (my first day of Christmas break) and it’s probably going to make my top 15 list for books that I read in 2022. The characters and emotions in this book were all done so well! This feels like a book that is in conversation with How the Word is Passed by Clint Smith and The Office of Historical Corrections by Danielle Evans (the novella). If you liked those, I think you may like this YA book about similar topics!

A significant part of the story is about the narrator, Avery, learning more about her family history. She moves temporarily with her parents to a small town in Georgia to take care of her Mama Letty (her mom’s mother). Her mother and grandmother have a rocky relationship for reasons that become clearer through the course of the book. Avery starts off knowing Mama Letty as a grumpy old woman and seeing this relationship progress into something loving over the course of the novel is lovely to read. She grows to understand her grandma and her own family history more. She is biracial and learns about her grandparents’ experiences with racism in their small-town, including with the KKK.

In addition to the focus on her family, Avery also quickly meets two new friends, Jade and Simone. Simone is the girl next door whose mother has complicated history with Avery’s mom, and Jade is the daughter of a high-powered family in town who lost her mother in a still-unsolved murder. We get to see Avery reckon with the toxicity of her previous best friends and ex from DC and develop closer friendships and a tentative new relationship in Georgia. There are some complicated parts to these relationships, and I appreciated how the book doesn’t shy away from some difficult topics.

I really loved this book! I think it does so many things well, from the character development, to the harder topics touched upon through the story. If you’ve read this book, let me know your thoughts!