Twelve-year-old Shayla finds herself in trouble when she wears a Black Lives Matter armband, which violates her school’s dress code
In her first year of junior high, Shayla follows all the rules. And things are going well—though she’d be happy if the boy she has a crush on would notice her. She eats lunch in the same spot every day with her best friends, Isabella, who is Puerto Rican, and Julia, who is Japanese-American. Shayla is African-American, and she’s content with their “United Nations” trio. But when some start to question whether she’s black enough, Shayla’s not sure what that even means. Sure, she’s not involved in the Black Lives Matter movement like her older sister, Hana, and she doesn’t sit with the black kids at lunch, but why does that matter? But then the United Nations is threatened when Isabella gets her braces off and catches the eye of Shayla’s crush and Julia starts hanging out more with her Asian friends. Suddenly, everything is changing—including Shayla herself as concern mounts over cases of police brutality in the news. Realizing that race does matter and that sometimes you have to break the rules, Shayla wears a Black Lives Matter armband. Trouble follows, bringing with it important lessons about friendship and courage. Awkward, endearing, and memorable, Shayla navigates the world of middle school and the troubled world beyond with wit and endless heart.
A timely, funny, and unforgettable debut about friendship, facing your fears, and standing up for what’s right. (Fiction. 8-12)