Genesis Begins Again [electronic resource] / Alicia D. Williams

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    • Abstract:
      Summary: 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?
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Booklist Reviews 2018 December #2

Her dad is an alcoholic with a gambling problem who never pays the rent, so her family keeps getting evicted from their homes. But that's not the only reason Genesis hates herself. Mostly it's because she is dark-skinned, and she wishes she were lighter. Genesis tries multiple ways to lighten her skin and help her family, both with disappointing results. Only after she learns to appreciate herself for who she is does everything else starts to fall into place. The "year in the life" style of this story gives readers an opportunity to look into someone's day-to-day, observing experiences that might be quite different from or similar to their own. This lengthy debut includes many common tropes—the inspirational teacher, the group of best friends, the mean girls—but its final message is powerful and challenges Genesis to define her life on her own terms, not society's. Genesis comes out stronger in the end, and the reader who sticks with her story will hopefully feel the same. Grades 4-8. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2019 Fall

After her family is evicted (again), thirteen-year-old Genesis has to worry about a new home and school, as well as the unraveling of her family from past secrets. Teased for her dark skin and kinky hair, Genesis feels invisible, unloved, and un-pretty; her journey teaches her that beauty really is only skin deep. Williams's debut also addresses the consequences of addiction and the instability that goes along with it. Copyright 2019 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2019 #1

Regina and the popular girls are coming over after school to hang out, eat snacks, and watch music videos. It's a dream day for thirteen-year-old Genesis. That is, until she gets to her house and sees all of her family's belongings put out on the street. Genesis is devastated, and the situation is made even worse when Regina and her crew make fun of her (as usual). Beginnings are nothing new to Genesis—she's started over after being evicted three times before, all because her dad doesn't pay the rent. Genesis hates moving almost as much as she hates the way she is teased about her dark skin (kids call her Char, short for charcoal) and kinky hair. Now, she has to worry about a new home and school (again), as well as the unraveling of her family from past secrets that threaten to undo her as well. In her debut novel, Williams tells the story of a girl who feels invisible, unloved, and un-pretty and her journey to learning that beauty really is only skin deep. In addition to the challenges of colorism, Williams addresses the consequences of addiction and the instability that goes along with it. monique harris January/February 2019 p 108 Copyright 2018 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.