Pretty Funny For a Girl

Peachtree. Oct. 2020. 368p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781682631478.
Gr 7 Up–Teenager Haylah Swinton wants to be a comedian. Not that there’s much about her life that’s funny: Her single mother works long shifts as a nurse, so Haylah is often the main caregiver for her four-year-old brother Noah. But after she’s finished her homework, Haylah will try to find the humor in her life and create comedy routines. She obsessively watches stand-up comics on television for inspiration. She gave herself the nickname “Pig” at the beginning of “big school,” as a preemptive strike so her peers wouldn’t forever name her “Fatso” or “Chubster.” The narrative covers a few months of her life as she comes to terms with her roles as a friend, a daughter, a sister, and as a young woman. She learns that she doesn’t have to hide behind her “clumsy” persona and her baggy clothes, that she is an equal to her two best friends, and that even though she’s not sure who she really is, finding out can be enjoyable. Elliott, who has previously published picture books and early readers, nails the voice and persona of a high school girl.
VERDICT A good purchase for libraries that need coming-of-age books centering body-positivity.

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