Why You Need to Read A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramee

On the eve of A Good Kind of Trouble being released, it was being marketed by several of the book tour companies I blog for. There was never a review option on any of them, but the blurb was enough for me to want to promote it as much as I could. And I did purchase it on Kindle when it was on sale. I just didn’t get to it for reading for a while because of so many other book reviews.

Here is that blurb from Amazon (affiliate link present throughout):

From debut author Lisa Moore Ramée comes this funny and big-hearted debut middle grade novel about friendship, family, and standing up for what’s right, perfect for fans of Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give and the novels of Renée Watson and Jason Reynolds.

Twelve-year-old Shayla is allergic to trouble. All she wants to do is to follow the rules. (Oh, and she’d also like to make it through seventh grade with her best friendships intact, learn to run track, and have a cute boy see past her giant forehead.)

But in junior high, it’s like all the rules have changed. Now she’s suddenly questioning who her best friends are and some people at school are saying she’s not black enough. Wait, what?

Shay’s sister, Hana, is involved in Black Lives Matter, but Shay doesn’t think that’s for her. After experiencing a powerful protest, though, Shay decides some rules are worth breaking. She starts wearing an armband to school in support of the Black Lives movement. Soon everyone is taking sides. And she is given an ultimatum.

Shay is scared to do the wrong thing (and even more scared to do the right thing), but if she doesn’t face her fear, she’ll be forever tripping over the next hurdle. Now that’s trouble, for real.

So as you can see, it is a very timely book, especially considering the past couple of years that we’ve had. What I find interesting is that this book was written even before George Floyd’s murder. Then again, the country has been in turmoil longer than we would like to admit.

I am a white woman in her 40s. Despite having a lifelong Black friend, living in a mixed neighborhood in the city, and having many people of color as friends and acquaintances over the years, there is no way for me to truly understand what it is that Black people are going through right now. The best that I can do is to educate myself, regularly confront my own prejudices, and make a point of listening to the stories of others. That is where these #ownvoices books come in so handy.

I’m sure you’ve seen all of those memes that are based on studies that tell us reading books is a great way to learn empathy for others. I really felt like I learned a lot from this book. Even the main character has a lot of questions about why these things are happening and what her place in all of it is. As she gets answers from her own family and friends, so does the reader. Things start to make a bit more sense. I think it will help you to better understand current events as well and hopefully inspire you to keep on doing the work to keep learning and listening.

I later also read The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas, which is similar and even stronger and geared toward a slightly older audience. Both of these books are amazing and need to be read by everyone. You can read my thoughts on THUG here.

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