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by Emily Seo ; illustrated by Gracey Zhang

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-926890-40-1
Publisher: Tradewind Books

Hoping to fit in, Emma writes a book about how to get a boy’s attention.

As a scientist’s daughter, 12-year-old Emma Sakamoto loves science and knows—and freely shares—a lot of facts. This quirk, plus her flat chest and ragged clothes, draws negative attention from mean girls at school. When Emma meets Cole, her friend George’s cousin who is a teen actor with a large social media following, the opportunity to change her image arises. Emma makes a deal with fashionable new girl Poppy: Emma will share her book on the science of boys to help Poppy get Cole’s attention, and Poppy will help Emma with her image. The only problem is that Emma isn’t actually writing a book, and she can’t stop lying about herself to try to fit in. George agrees to help, but figuring out the formula for attracting boys won’t be easy. Incorporating real science principles, this funny, clever coming-of-age story examines friendship, acceptance, adolescent concerns, and societal messages. Emma also has family troubles: Her mother left them eight months ago, and her father seems depressed. Being lactose intolerant plays a considerable role in Emma’s daily life; many readers will find the dietary restriction relatable. Black-and-white drawings are scattered throughout the book, adding pleasing visual representation and humor. Contextual clues indicate that Canadian Emma has some Japanese heritage; the illustrations show racial diversity in the supporting cast.

A delightful mix of science and relationships.

(Fiction. 11-14)