In the face of a loved one’s illness, Georgie struggles with blended-family growing pains and the ups and downs of friendship.
It’s summertime, and for 11-year-old Georgie and her 6-year-old sister, Peaches, doing the latest dances offers a respite from the changes that came with their parents’ divorce. They have a new stepmom, Millicent, nicknamed “Millipede” by Georgie. Could she be the reason Georgie and Peaches don’t see their dad as much as they used to? The girls have also moved from Atlanta to the suburbs with their mother to live with their new stepdad, Frank, and stepsister, Tangie. Tangie is still mourning the sudden death of her younger sister, Morgan, five years earlier, and she’s less than thrilled about Georgie and Peaches’ arrival in her life. When Georgie accidently makes things worse with Tangie, she reaches out to a “getting-out-of-a-jam” expert, her best friend, Nikki. But even Nikki can’t solve the problem when someone close to Georgie falls seriously ill. Feisty, loyal Georgie is determined to make things right in her family and thwart a mean girl’s scheme. A budding romance and a timely lesson about social justice round out Georgie’s summer. Chock-full of cultural and historical references that reflect Georgie and her family’s and friends’ African-American heritage, Youngblood’s debut is a celebration of intergenerational family bonds. Readers in co-parenting or blended families especially will relate to the conflicts between Georgie’s loving but imperfect parents.
An openhearted, endearing, and unforgettable debut about the challenges of friendship, growing up, and the boundless love of family. (Fiction. 8-12)