BUYING ADVISORY: EL - ADVISABLE
AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE
11yo Janae thinks when she makes a wish out loud it comes true, but in a bad way. She wished her parents would stop fighting and then her dad moved out; she wished her brother didn't go away to college - when he did, he was injured in a basketball game and is back home, angry and recovering. Janae is anxious about an assignment in her English class - she has to give a speech. What if she says the wrong thing? When her school is considering a name change - from John Wayne Middle School to Sylvia Mendez Middle School, she supports the idea and wants to get involved, but holds back because her words have unintended and unexpected power.
I loved the themes of fitting in, being your best self, and standing up for what you believe in. Janae has a friend, Aubrey, who likes the same online comic character as she, but otherwise, they have nothing in common - however, Ramee has done a brilliant job of building a friendship between two very different people, Aubrey loves debate, he's very outgoing and friendly, and likes Janae despite her reluctance to engage in conversation, or help much with the language arts speech - they are partners. I think middle school kids will enjoy Something To Say, it is engaging and thought provoking - and they'll learn a bit of history as well.
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