Tuesday, March 5, 2019

A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramee: An ARC Review


A Good Kind of Trouble Lisa Moore Ramee
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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.
A Good Kind of Trouble attempted to do what The Hate U Give did for the YA audience—explore race issues, and race tensions but for an even younger audience.

But, like, THUG, it barely scratched the surface. Unlike, THUG, however, it being tamer made sense, considering the age of the intended audience. 

Twelve-year-old Shayla has always been on the outskirts of her blackness—not unaware, but she hasn’t yet come into the understanding of what it means to be black in today’s America. 

Then, another black man is murdered by a cop and gets off scot-free. Innocent until proven innocent. Combined with the normal struggles of adolescence; A Good Kind of Trouble delves into the black lives matter movement and what it means for the younger generation—and how they deal with it.

This black lives matter-esque novel was easier to grapple. The actual death is a backdrop as opposed to being the main subject of the story. This was both good and bad. Good, because it doesn't force the reader to deal with the death head-on. Bad, because it didn't serve the novel’s general intention; which was to talk about "black lives matter" from a younger perspective—because it was in the background instead of the forefront. But you also have to remember this novel is for middle-grade readers.

I appreciated this attempt but was less than wowed by it. The story is "young" and is better suited for the audience it was written for. So, adults, this one is not for you.

This is a slow-mover. There isn't much that goes on. Shayla’s “aha moment” comes closer to the end making it appear the book would not get to its point.

We get to see Shayla come to terms with her blackness in trickles throughout the book—but again it is a slow process.

I found the book to be a tad boring but I think it’s mostly because the book is not for my age bracket. I don’t think it’s one of those books that can transition from age to age.

It does what it sets out to do, and that is to start a conversation about race that’s more palatable for the younger kids. It doesn’t do a lot, but it does enough. 

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