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Publisher's Summary

A Newbery Honor Book

Winner of the Correta Scott King - John Steptoe for New Talent Author Award

A Morris Award Finalist

An NPR Favorite Book of 2019

A School Library Journal Best Middle Grade Book of 2019

A Kirkus Reviews Best Middle Grade Book of 2019

This deeply sensitive and powerful debut novel tells the story of a 13-year-old who must overcome internalized racism and a verbally abusive family to finally learn to love herself.

There are 96 things Genesis hates about herself. She knows the exact number because she keeps a list. Like number 95: Because her skin is so dark, people call her charcoal and eggplant - even her own family. And number 61: Because her family is always being put out of their house, belongings laid out on the sidewalk for the world to see. When your dad is a gambling addict and loses the rent money every month, eviction is a regular occurrence.

What’s not so regular is that this time they all don’t have a place to crash, so Genesis and her mom have to stay with her grandma. It’s not that Genesis doesn’t like her grandma, but she and Mom always fight - Grandma haranguing Mom to leave Dad, that she should have gone back to school, that if she’d married a lighter skinned man none of this would be happening, and on and on and on. But things aren’t all bad. Genesis actually likes her new school; she’s made a couple friends, her choir teacher says she has real talent, and she even encourages Genesis to join the talent show.

But how can Genesis believe anything her teacher says when her dad tells her the exact opposite? How can she stand up in front of all those people with her dark, dark skin knowing even her own family thinks lesser of her because of it? Why, why, why won’t the lemon or yogurt or fancy creams lighten her skin like they’re supposed to? And when Genesis reaches number 100 on the list of things she hates about herself, will she continue on, or can she find the strength to begin again?

©2020 Alicia D. Williams (P)2020 Simon & Schuster Audio

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Profile Image for Erna Billingsley
  • Erna Billingsley
  • 19-08-2020

Excellent book!!

This book was a blessing to me! All young girls/ladies need to read this .

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  • Yoda0604
  • 23-07-2020

Be kind to others and yourself! 😊

A beautifully-written story, one everyone should read and reflect on. What do our thoughts and actions leave in the lives of others, ... and how do they impact the person we’re choosing to be? 💜

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  • M. Tobin
  • 14-07-2020

Fantastic, lyrical, inspiring, emotional

I adored Genesis, as a character, a person, a narrator,- this novel pulled me in, held onto my heart, & never let go. Truly awesome read, & auther Alicia D. Williams narration on Audible is brilliant. Fantastic, inspiring, lyrical, 1sr person voice Highly recommended.

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  • Charmaine parker
  • 27-04-2020

very close to home

loved it. it was a little much for my 8 year old daughter. But as soon as she's mature enough she will be reading this. this story is so familiar to so many young girls. the trials and troubles that Genesis faces are a real struggle in the community. young and old can relate to this story. This is one to add to my personal library and share it with all the young ladies that I care about.

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  • Miranda
  • 30-11-2020

I loved this book

My son was assigned this book in 8 th grade and to help him with engaging in the reading we got the audiobook as a companion . ( he sometimes will get distracted reading so now he will read the assigned chapter then listen to the chapter after to reinforce the meaning. ) . I also listened so we could discuss the book and the very deep topics addressed in Genesis’s story. It was sooo good. There were many moments As a mom I wanted to go get her and support this child. What an incredible story teller. It was hard not to knock out the whole thing in a day.

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  • Mrs. V
  • 08-11-2020

Great Read

I’m glad I chose this book! Wow! Extremely raw and powerful. Not just for black girls but for everyone out there that has low self esteem or has things that they wish they could change about themselves. This book is the beginning of learning to love the things that you cannot change about yourself but also while working on the things that you can change.

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  • Janice Kroeger
  • 06-10-2020

great young adult fiction

good pace, strong story line, race issue discussion for adolescent and adults. Read with great enthusiasm by the author.

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