Kirkus Reviews QR Code
PARTLY CLOUDY by Tanita S. Davis


by Tanita S. Davis

Pub Date: Sept. 7th, 2021
ISBN: 978-0-06-293700-1
Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

After weathering several storms during her sixth grade year, Madalyn Thomas seeks better opportunities for seventh grade.

Attending Kingsbridge Junior High seems like a better option than Madalyn’s old school, but there’s a catch: During the week she must live in another town with Papa Lobo, her great-uncle, a Louisiana native who moved to California but still peppers his speech with Creole. Her father’s new job has taken him to the East Coast, and her mom is away, spending long hours at work. However, Madalyn is the only Black girl in her class. She befriends Latinx Aria but navigates stares and intrusive questions from classmates who are cued as White—and when a new White friend demonstrates that she may hold prejudiced feelings against Black males, Madalyn must decide if this is a friendship worth pursuing. A subplot involving a neighbor also helps to establish the novel’s central themes around responding to mistreatment of others and adhering to one’s own values. Young readers will grapple with different interpretations and come to their own conclusions about how not to let the bad actions of others allow one to compromise one’s core principles and the sticky question of whether any part of the burden for making peace rests with those who are the victims of discrimination. The California setting, amid the reality of the state’s wildfires, will resonate with readers who live with climate-related threats.

A timely novel full of thought-provoking questions.

(Fiction. 10-13)