Picture Day

Listening Library. (The Brinkley ­Yearbooks: Bk. 1). Jun. 2023. 107p. $38. ISBN 9780593614426.
Gr 4 Up–Yep, it’s another picture day. Even more predictable is Olivia’s mother’s insistence over what to wear (homemade white cardigan with yellow flowers) and how to do her hair (Mom even braids it!). But this is seventh grade and Viv—she’s done being just another Olivia—won’t let others “tell [her] who to be.” One bold move—she discards that braid on screen!—leads to many, many others. But at what cost? Her favorite influencer advises “be true to yourself and the world will notice.” Viv definitely has an audience now, but has she lost sight of her very self? The impressive cast, led by youthfully exuberant Wong, presents a rewarding performance of Sax’s solo debut. Sadly, there is no who-read-who reveal at recording’s end; since this is the fantastic first of a four-book series, “The Brinkley Yearbooks,” let’s hope the producers will provide continuity (and credits) in the volumes ahead.
VERDICT Middle schoolers navigating social hierarchies will find compelling resonance here.

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