|Only black girls in town|
Author: Colbert, Brandy
In a predominately white California beach town, the only two black seventh-graders, Alberta and Edie, find hidden journals that uncover family secrets and speak to race relations in the past.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.40
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 508494
Kirkus Reviews (+) (12/01/19)
School Library Journal (03/20/20)
Booklist (+) (03/15/20)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/03/20)
The Hornbook (00/07/20)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 03/15/2020 *Starred Review* A remarkable middle-grade debut from YA powerhouse Colbert (Little & Lion, 2017), The Only Black Girls in Town is a window into the heart and mind of Alberta, the sole African American girl in her small beach town’s seventh grade until another Black family moves in across the street. Although she and her new neighbor could not be any more superficially different—Alberta is a California surfer and Edie is a goth girl from Brooklyn—they bond over their racial “otherness” in a realistic way. Being two of the few Black students in their school (a true-to-life representation of the microaggressions they experience is highlighted by a teacher calling Edie by Alberta’s name, although they look nothing alike) brings the girls closer together, while navigating their middle-school dramas and changing family dynamics seems to drive them apart. Fortunately, a desire to uncover the identity of the author of a set of journals they find in Edie’s home helps to keep their friendship from completely fracturing, and conflicts are resolved in a reasonable yet satisfying way. Several events central to Black history (the murder of Emmett Till and the Montgomery bus boycott, for example) are introduced without the story becoming didactic, adding depth to a sweet story featuring children of color trying to find their place in a society that tells them they do not fit. Strongly recommended for children’s collections. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 03/20/2020 Gr 3–7—Alberta is a 13-year-old African American girl who loves surfing, vegetarian food, and her two dads. She does not love being the only African American girl in town, or the fact that her best friend Laramie is befriending her frenemy, Natalie. Initially, Alberta is thrilled to learn another Black family has moved in across the street—but when she meets new neighbor Edie, they seem to have more differences than commonalities. Brooklyn-born Edie likes coffee, black lipstick, and Edgar Allan Poe, whereas Alberta prefers board shorts and hanging out at the beach. But what starts as a rocky connection solidifies into friendship as the two girls bond over shared identities and solve a mystery that they uncover in the journals in Edie's attic. Alberta's friendship with Laramie seems to falter as she gets closer to Edie, but the girls become more flexible in their evolving friendship and grow. Eventually, Alberta learns how to balance sustaining old relationships with building new ones, and realizes she can stand up for herself. VERDICT A nuanced novel that skillfully depicts the ways friendships can be shaped by common experience and racial proximity. Purchase Colbert's heartfelt middle grade debut for all public and school libraries.—Desiree Thomas, Worthington Library, OH - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 03/15/2020 - Copyright 2020 Booklist.