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WINNIE NASH IS NOT YOUR SUNSHINE by Nicole Melleby Kirkus Star


by Nicole Melleby

Pub Date: April 2nd, 2024
ISBN: 9781643753133
Publisher: Algonquin

A gay tween struggles to go back into the closet while temporarily living with her grandma.

Between her dad’s new job and her mom’s post-miscarriage pregnancy, Winnie’s family has a lot going on. They send Winnie to stay with her grandma for a “summer at the shore” in New Jersey. Winnie’s angry. With a name like Winnifred Maude Nash, the 12-year-old fits right in at her grandma’s book club for seniors. The problem: She can’t quite be her true self, because her parents asked her not to tell her grandma she’s gay. Winnie eventually makes friends her own age—Pippa Lai and Lucía Delgado—who let her be her authentic self. But what she really needs is to feel “held” by going to Pride in New York City. Trouble is, Pride is the same day as Pippa’s annual family party, which Winnie agreed to go to. What’s a girl to do? Melleby’s latest expertly captures the tumultuousness of tween emotions through its dialogue and third-person narration. While many in Winnie’s generation are so confident in their queerness, the story importantly touches on how it’s not always safe to be out. Multiple queer characters—peers, adults, and elders alike—contribute to an exceptional sense of community that shows the many ways support can manifest. Winnie and her family read white; Pippa’s surname cues Chinese ancestry, and Lucía is implied Latine.

A powerful, emotional look at queerness, pride, and what it truly means to feel held.

(Fiction. 9-12)