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Publisher's Summary

From Margaret Dilloway, author of Summer of a Thousand Pies, comes a heartfelt and funny story about a shy 11-year-old who learns to manage her anxiety through improv classes - and discovers her activist voice. Perfect for fans of Sharon Draper, Lynda Mullaly Hunt, and Holly Goldberg Sloan. 

Eleven-year-old Ava Andrews has a Technicolor interior with a gray shell. On the inside, she bubbles with ideas and plans. On the outside, everyone except her best friend, Zelia, thinks she doesn’t talk or, worse, is stuck-up. What nobody knows is that Ava has invisible disabilities: anxiety and a heart condition. 

Ava hopes middle school will be a fresh start, but when Zelia moves across the country and Ava’s Nana Linda pushes her to speak up about social issues, she withdraws further. So Ava is shocked when her writing abilities impress her classmates and they invite her to join their improv group, making up stories onstage. 

Determined to prove she can control her anxiety, she joins - and discovers a whole new side of herself, and what it means to be on a team. But as Ava’s self-confidence blossoms, her relationship with Zelia strains, and she learns that it isn’t enough just to raise your voice - it’s how and why you use it that matters. 

©2020 Margaret Dilloway (P)2020 Balzer + Bray

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