Just Lizzie

HarperCollins/Clarion. Nov. 2023. 320p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780063290297.
Gr 3-7–In this middle grade debut, Lizzie is an eighth grader who is facing a lot of change. Not only are there shifts within herself that she is struggling to identify, but many external changes are affecting her relationship with herself and the world. Lizzie's family has had to move from her childhood home; her brother is more distant since entering college; and the girl’s friends are all into crushes and dating, an interest she doesn’t share. After a lesson in science on asexual reproduction serves as a catalyst for introspection and self-discovery, Lizzie embarks on a journey of exploring asexuality and how it applies to her. Written with clarity in plot development and relatable diction, Wilfrid fosters a character that readers have all known, seen, helped, or identify with in young Lizzie. This poignant depiction of a journey of self-discovery through the middle grade lens gives light to not only how emerging teenagers seek, process, and act with information, but how the voice of the younger generation is sometimes better to listen to instead of guiding.
VERDICT A thoughtful coming-of-age exploration of a tween’s experience with big life changes and asexuality; recommended for all collections.

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