Ramée’s debut novel explores the awkwardness of middle school, the changing dynamics with friends, and getting “woke.” I found fallible and funny (with her “allergy” to trouble) Shayla utterly relatable as she navigates her feelings about an incident of race-based police violence and struggles to decide whether breaking the rules is sometimes the right choice. Books that examine race often fall short, painting with broad strokes, but this book avoids that misstep—it’s right on target, addressing essential nuances with courage and honesty.— Stephanie
“Shayla’s a relatable character trying to make sense of her world and whose ideas of following the rules are challenged when she’s confronted with unjust rules, but the Black Lives Matter movement empowers her to stand up for her beliefs. The viewpoint and tone are perfect for a middle-grade audience, and Lisa Moore Ramée raises questions and opens eyes while telling a strong story.”
— Jennifer Kraar, City of Asylum Bookstore, Pittsburgh, PA
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.
"Tensions are high over the trial of a police officer who shot an unarmed Black man. When the officer is set free, and Shay goes with her family to a silent protest, she starts to see that some trouble is worth making." (Publishers Weekly, "An Anti-Racist Children's and YA Reading List")
Lisa Moore Ramée was born and raised in Los Angeles, and she now lives in the Bay Area of California, with her husband, two kids, and two obnoxious cats. She is the author of A Good Kind of Trouble and Something to Say. You can visit her online at www.lisamooreramee.com.