This unforgettable middle-grade novel, Something To Say, will have readers cheering on lovable characters who feel like your best friends.
Jenae is a socially anxious introvert, and she’s fine with that. If she puts herself out there, there’s a chance something can go wrong, and that chance is what scares her. But when she’s paired up with an outgoing, enthusiastic redhead boy named Aubrey for an English project, she finds that bravery can be a powerful weapon for change, but the question is, does she want to use it?
The best speech for the project on whether or not the name of their school should be changed wins a spot on the debate team. Aubrey is eager to earn the reward, but Jenae’s fear of speaking up may wreck his chances. Jenae has to choose between putting herself out there and taking a risk, or staying on the sidelines and possibly losing a friend.
The historical aspect to the book was really interesting. The controversial name of Jenae and Aubrey’s school is John Wayne Junior High, named after a popular actor who was also a white supremacist. The school wants to change it to celebrate Sylvia Mendez, a young girl who helped integrate an all-white school before the Brown v. Board Of Education case. It was cool to see how Jenae represented Sylvia in the way that both of them had to have the courage to do something out of their comfort zone. I’m sure the author did that intentionally, and it worked.
I’ve reviewed a book about Sylvia Mendez called Sylvia And Aki if you want to learn more about her!
Lisa Moore Ramee, the author of Something To Say, did an amazing job with description. When Jenae had to give an interesting fact about herself on the first day, she had an anxiety attack, and the way the author wrote it made the situation feel scary and dangerous. Ramee expertly used the “show don’t tell” rule of writing, because I really could envision how it felt for Jenae instead of her literally saying it.
This book reminded me of Hello, Universe, another book about friendship, because the lead character in that book, Virgil reminded me a lot of Jenae. Valencia, another character in Hello, Universe, was such an Aubrey!
Four out of four roses!