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A Good Kind of Trouble: 07/20/19

A Good Kind of Trouble

A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramée is a contemporary middle grade coming of age novel about a Black girl in West Los Angeles. Shayla is twelve and has been in a trio of friends, the United Nations, but now in junior high school they seem to be drifting apart.

The school has the most Black students of any school she's attended but she doesn't feel compelled to sit at their table. Nor does she want to play the stupid "Command" game that everyone else seem's to be playing, including her closest friends.

Shayla finds an unexpected place for herself on the track team. Her P.E. teacher / coach becomes the mentor she needs but doesn't know she needs. It's through track that she begins to understand the other students and to find her place.

In the background of Shayla's first year of junior high is the trial of a police officer who shot and killed a Black man. Discussions of the trial and the the civil unrest as well as Shayla's parents' involvement in the Black Panthers back in the day, and her sister's involvement now in Black Lives Matter, also mould her experience in junior high.

The principal acts as the antagonist, though not as a nasty, evil one. She definitely has some internalized racism. She over-reacts to Shayla's Black Panther Halloween costume and later to the Black Lives Matter arm bands that Shayla passes around to other students at school. But she's at least mature enough to know when she's been called out for racial profiling.

Put another way, Shayla's "good kind of trouble" isn't as extreme as what Zayneb or Jasmine experience. But her first year still shows the way Black kids are more harshly treated by teachers and administrators. At least with the confrontation with Shayla's mother, there is a sign that the principal can learn and grow as a person.

Lisa Moore Ramée's second book is Something to Say. It comes out July 14, 2020.

Five stars

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Comment #1: Monday, July 22, 2019 at 20:17:30

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz

This looks like a good one.

Comment #2: Sunday, July 29 at 14:01:00


It is. A good companion read would be Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams.

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