This book is honest, raw, and very important. It deals with poverty, a parent's addiction, and both external and internalized racism in ways that feel true to life and which are good for kids to see depicted in fiction (either because they can relate to those things, or because they can't.) Genesis Begins Again will break your heart, then put it back together again. Recommended By Lucinda G., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
A Newbery Honor Book
Winner of the Correta Scott King - John Steptoe for New Talent Author Award
A Morris Award Finalist
An NPR Favorite Book of 2019
A School Library Journal
Best Middle Grade Book of 2019
A Kirkus Reviews
Best Middle Grade Book of 2019
This deeply sensitive and powerful debut novel tells the story of a thirteen-year-old who must overcome internalized racism and a verbally abusive family to finally learn to love herself.
There are ninety-six things Genesis hates about herself. She knows the exact number because she keeps a list. Like #95: Because her skin is so dark, people call her charcoal and eggplant — even her own family. And #61: Because her family is always being put out of their house, belongings laid out on the sidewalk for the world to see. When your dad is a gambling addict and loses the rent money every month, eviction is a regular occurrence.
What’s not so regular is that this time they all don’t have a place to crash, so Genesis and her mom have to stay with her grandma. It’s not that Genesis doesn’t like her grandma, but she and Mom always fight — Grandma haranguing Mom to leave Dad, that she should have gone back to school, that if she’d married a lighter skinned man none of this would be happening, and on and on and on. But things aren’t all bad. Genesis actually likes her new school; she’s made a couple friends, her choir teacher says she has real talent, and she even encourages Genesis to join the talent show.
But how can Genesis believe anything her teacher says when her dad tells her the exact opposite? How can she stand up in front of all those people with her dark, dark skin knowing even her own family thinks lesser of her because of it? Why, why, why won’t the lemon or yogurt or fancy creams lighten her skin like they’re supposed to? And when Genesis reaches #100 on the list of things she hates about herself, will she continue on, or can she find the strength to begin again?
"This is a sensitive and nuanced portrayal of a girl grappling with hard truths about her family and her own feelings of self-worth. A must for all collections." School Library Journal
"With its relatable and sympathetic protagonist, complex setting, and exceptional emotional range, this title is easy to recommend." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"Debut novelist Williams takes readers through an emotional, painful, yet still hopeful adolescent journey....[A] story that may be all too familiar for too many and one that needed telling." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
About the Author
Alicia Williams is a graduate of the MFA program at Hamline University. An oral storyteller in the African American tradition, she is also a teacher who lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. Genesis Begins Again is her debut novel.