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|Genesis begins again|
Author: Williams, Alicia
Thirteen-year-old Genesis tries again and again to lighten her black skin, thinking it is the root of her family's troubles, before discovering reasons to love herself as is.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.50
Points: 11.0 Quiz: 199648
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 4.20
Points: 19.0 Quiz: 76455
Newbery Honor, 2020
Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award, 2020
Kirkus Reviews (+) (11/15/18)
School Library Journal (+) (02/01/19)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (00/01/19)
The Hornbook (00/01/19)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 12/15/2018 Her dad is an alcoholic with a gambling problem who never pays the rent, so her family keeps getting evicted from their homes. But that’s not the only reason Genesis hates herself. Mostly it’s because she is dark-skinned, and she wishes she were lighter. Genesis tries multiple ways to lighten her skin and help her family, both with disappointing results. Only after she learns to appreciate herself for who she is does everything else starts to fall into place. The “year in the life” style of this story gives readers an opportunity to look into someone’s day-to-day, observing experiences that might be quite different from or similar to their own. This lengthy debut includes many common tropes—the inspirational teacher, the group of best friends, the mean girls—but its final message is powerful and challenges Genesis to define her life on her own terms, not society’s. Genesis comes out stronger in the end, and the reader who sticks with her story will hopefully feel the same. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 02/01/2019 Gr 5–8—Genesis comes home from school to find her family's belongings on the lawn; they've been evicted again. Her father promises that this next time will be different, renting a house in the suburbs and promising that he will get a promotion at work so they can afford it. At school, Genesis makes friends for the first time and is mentored by Mrs. Hill, the choir teacher, but Genesis's father still drinks too much and her parents' marriage is unraveling. Genesis tries lightening her skin, begs to be able to use relaxer in her hair, and keeps a list of things she hates about herself, believing that if she only looked like her light-skinned mother and not her dark-skinned father, the situation at home would improve. This message is hammered home by her father's cruel comments and her grandmother's story of the "brown paper bag" test. Genesis escapes by singing; she is inspired by greats like Billie Holiday and Etta James. When she has the opportunity to sing in the school talent show, Genesis must find the power in using her voice to speak her truth. Genesis' struggles are age appropriate but do not shy away from the hard truth about colorism within the Afro American community. Through each character, readers come to understand the significance of how one's story plays out in reactions and interactions with the people around them. The hopeful but not happy ending adds to the realism and emotional impact of this powerful story. VERDICT This is a sensitive and nuanced portrayal of a girl grappling with hard truths about her family and her own feelings of self-worth. A must for all collections.—Kefira Phillipe, Nichols Middle School, Evanston, IL - Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.