The Science of Being Angry

Algonquin. May 2022. 288p. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781643750378.
Gr 4-8–What do you do when you’re angry all the time, and you don’t know why? Eleven-year-old Joey Sennet-Cooper doesn’t know anyone who gets mad like she does. Not her moms, even though they can be stubborn and stern; not her brothers, even when they get frustrated with Joey’s outbursts; and not her best friend Layla, who Joey ghosted after realizing she might have more than just friendship feelings for her. When Joey gets angry, she can’t control her words or actions and people around her get hurt, physically and emotionally. A school science project on nature versus nurture makes Joey wonder about tracking down her sperm donor for potential genetic causes to her anger, but the investigation spawns even more problems for brown-haired, light-skinned Joey and her family. How will Joey find the answers she needs before she pushes away the people she loves most? While her actions are often deeply frustrating, Joey has scrappy determination, and readers can’t help but be charmed by her and her lovable and well-developed cast of family and friends. Joey’s inner thoughts and desperation to better understand her impulses builds empathy for those grappling with similar struggles.
VERDICT A strong recommendation for readers who enjoy contemplative, character-driven stories like those by Ashley Herring Blake.

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