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The only black girls in town
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2020
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Reviews

Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* A remarkable middle-grade debut from YA powerhouse Colbert (Little & Lion, 2017), The Only Black Girls in Town is a window into the heart and mind of Alberta, the sole African American girl in her small beach town's seventh grade until another Black family moves in across the street. Although she and her new neighbor could not be any more superficially different—Alberta is a California surfer and Edie is a goth girl from Brooklyn—they bond over their racial "otherness" in a realistic way. Being two of the few Black students in their school (a true-to-life representation of the microaggressions they experience is highlighted by a teacher calling Edie by Alberta's name, although they look nothing alike) brings the girls closer together, while navigating their middle-school dramas and changing family dynamics seems to drive them apart. Fortunately, a desire to uncover the identity of the author of a set of journals they find in Edie's home helps to keep their friendship from completely fracturing, and conflicts are resolved in a reasonable yet satisfying way. Several events central to Black history (the murder of Emmett Till and the Montgomery bus boycott, for example) are introduced without the story becoming didactic, adding depth to a sweet story featuring children of color trying to find their place in a society that tells them they do not fit. Strongly recommended for children's collections. Grades 3-6. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Twelve-year-old surfing fanatic Alberta has lived in Ewing Beach, Calif., with her fathers for much of her life. Her family is one of the only black families in town, until the Whitmans buy the old bed and breakfast across the street. Goth Edie, the same age as Alberta, is nothing like her. She's a proud Brooklyn native; she wears all black, down to the black lipstick she's never without; and she doesn't understand why everyone in Ewing loves the beach. And while Edie's parents are divorcing, Alberta's dads remain deeply in love. Despite their differences, the two become fast friends just as Alberta's lifelong best friend, who is white, begins drifting toward the popular girl who has bullied Alberta with racist taunts for years. When Alberta and Edie find a set of mysterious journals in Edie's new house, they also uncover an enduring secret. Imperfect, vulnerable characters take center stage in Colbert's middle grade debut about growing up on the margins in the past and present. Colbert employs a compulsively readable style to convey the sometimes difficult experience of young friendship, and the power and peril of claiming one's identity out loud. Ages 8–12. Agent: Tina Dubois, ICM Partners. (Mar.)

Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Twelve-year-old surfing fanatic Alberta has lived in Ewing Beach, Calif., with her fathers for much of her life. Her family is one of the only black families in town, until the Whitmans buy the old bed and breakfast across the street. Goth Edie, the same age as Alberta, is nothing like her. She's a proud Brooklyn native; she wears all black, down to the black lipstick she's never without; and she doesn't understand why everyone in Ewing loves the beach. And while Edie's parents are divorcing, Alberta's dads remain deeply in love. Despite their differences, the two become fast friends just as Alberta's lifelong best friend, who is white, begins drifting toward the popular girl who has bullied Alberta with racist taunts for years. When Alberta and Edie find a set of mysterious journals in Edie's new house, they also uncover an enduring secret. Imperfect, vulnerable characters take center stage in Colbert's middle grade debut about growing up on the margins in the past and present. Colbert employs a compulsively readable style to convey the sometimes difficult experience of young friendship, and the power and peril of claiming one's identity out loud. Ages 8–12. Agent: Tina Dubois, ICM Partners. (Mar.)

Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly.

Author Biography

Brandy Colbert is the critically acclaimed author of the novels Pointe, Finding Yvonne, The Revolution of Birdie Randolph, and Stonewall Award winner Little & Lion. Born and raised in Springfield, Missouri, she now lives and writes in Los Angeles. - (Grand Central Pub)

Annotations

In a predominately white California beach town, the only two black seventh-graders, Alberta and Edie, find hidden journals that uncover family secrets and speak to race relations in the past. - (Baker & Taylor)

Ecstatic to hear that another African American family has moved into town, surfer Alberta attempts to make friends with homesick newcomer Edie, who helps her uncover painful local secrets in a box of old journals. 30,000 first printing. Simultaneous eBook. - (Baker & Taylor)

Award-winning YA author Brandy Colbert's debut middle-grade novel about the only two black girls in town who discover a collection of hidden journals revealing shocking secrets of the past.

Beach-loving surfer Alberta has been the only black girl in town for years. Alberta's best friend, Laramie, is the closest thing she has to a sister, but there are some things even Laramie can't understand. When the bed and breakfast across the street finds new owners, Alberta is ecstatic to learn the family is black-and they have a 12-year-old daughter just like her.

Alberta is positive she and the new girl, Edie, will be fast friends. But while Alberta loves being a California girl, Edie misses her native Brooklyn and finds it hard to adapt to small-town living.

When the girls discover a box of old journals in Edie's attic, they team up to figure out exactly who's behind them and why they got left behind. Soon they discover shocking and painful secrets of the past and learn that nothing is quite what it seems. - (Grand Central Pub)

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