Lisa Ramee's poignant debut is a pitch perfect contemporary middle grade--reading it threw me back into the high drama of fragmenting friendships, cliques, innocent seventh grade boy problems, and Moms who draw the line at twelve year olds wearing makeup. Ramee nails the fraught nature of standing up and standing out when you're in seventh grade, along with the difficulties of negotiating mixed signals, missed cues, and misinterpretations of other people's behavior. Reading A Good Kind of Trouble, you can't help but be entirely immersed in what it feels like to be 12.
But the real beating heart of this novel is Shay's budding awareness of social responsibility and political activism, and her sweet, heartfelt struggles to understand and articulate her feelings, her boundaries, and her needs clearly. As the Black Lives Matter movement gathers steam in her community, Shay is beginning to fully understand some painful realities about the world, and the way those realities can cause stresses in the community and even in the most solid of friendships. This beautiful story is so honest about the frictions and difficulties and hard choices Shay has to make. You'll cry, cheer, and applaud her courage and newfound maturity. I would seriously recommend this book for every middle grade reader and classroom. It's important and timely and hopeful and very, very moving.