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Genesis Begins Again

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  5,201 ratings  ·  959 reviews
This is the story of a thirteen-year-old girl who is filled with self-loathing and 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
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published January 15th 2019 by S&S/Atheneum
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Jae Roth Having loved The Skin I'm In, I sort of knew what to expect. As a teacher I used to teach a short story called "Revolt of the Evil Fairies" by Ted Pos…moreHaving loved The Skin I'm In, I sort of knew what to expect. As a teacher I used to teach a short story called "Revolt of the Evil Fairies" by Ted Poston. It showed the bias in a segregation era black school based on skin tone of the students. Lighter kids were given "good" parts, but darker kids were given "evil" parts.

This book wasn't so much hard to read with the anger and bias as it was heartbreaking. It's rare to find a book for the middle grades written with such passion and depth.
Kim I think it was 34 give or take one or two.

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Average rating 4.40  · 
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I'm not sure I've ever had a year where I've had so many favorites, but I'm okay with that.

This isn't an enjoyable read. This isn't a read that is supposed to make you feel comfortable. This book made me emotional during several different parts. Genesis Begins Again confronts so many different topics including racism, alcoholism, and colorism. There are trigger warnings for emotional abuse, verbal abuse, and self-deprivation. Genesis is a dark-skinned Black girl that does not feel comfortable i
Dec 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs, blm
Edelweiss+ provided me a DRC of this book in exchange for an honest review.


I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again: there are not enough middle grade books that feature African American girls and their day to day lives, along with some of the unique issues they face. This one was PHENOMENAL.

Genesis deals with so many issues that children face--academic struggles, poverty, a parent struggling with addiction, making friends, racism. RACISM
Kate Olson
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Well THAT just ripped my heart out.

2020 Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award
Erin Kelly
Apr 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Genesis is such a likable character. We're so close in her interior thoughts that it feels like we're walking in her shoes. I related to Genesis in so many ways. Obviously we are quite different, but there are some things that transcend race and environment -- like struggling with feelings of self-worth; not feeling good enough; and keeping a list (whether real or imaginary) of all the ways you fall short. She was a wonderful person to spend a few days with, both for the things we share and the ...more
Danielle ❤️ Pretty Mess Reading ❤️
****4 STARS****

A powerful and moving stories for young girls.

Review to come. . .

Remember to follow all things messy. . .

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4.5 stars

Genesis Begins Again is one of the most hard hitting middle grade books I’ve read. Genesis story was heartbreaking and difficult to read. For such a young girl to go through the feelings she went through, it was just devastating. To know that people are made to feel this way… it makes me so sad. This is a book that will give you all the feels. It brought me to tears more than once. Genesis is a character you will root for. Her story is so important for people to read and I highly recomm
Jan 14, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A more significant debut for Alicia Diane Williams is hard to imagine. Genesis Begins Again was a hot commodity when it first found its way onto bookstore shelves in 2019, and that popularity was later affirmed by the awards it received, including a 2020 Newbery Honor. Not every decorated novel is great, but this one lives up to the hype with a sweet, searing story that challenges ingrained preconceptions and reminds us what wonders can emerge from our broken, backwards world. Thirteen-year-old ...more
Just so damn good.
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Genesis Begins Again is a raw, honest view of what it can feel like to be a young girl with a dark complexion trying to conform to society's beauty standards. In addition to the ups and downs, mostly downs, of middle school, Genesis must navigate life with an alcoholic, gambling father who destroys her sense of security every month.

The book begins with Genesis feeling euphoric because she has made friends with the most popular girls in her grade. They have agreed to visit her home and they arri
Afoma (Reading Middle Grade)
In Genesis Begins Again, thirteen-year-old Genesis grapples with intense self-hate worsened by her father's verbal abuse and her grandmother's backward ideologies about skin color.

Told in Genesis's slangy voice, Genesis Begins Again flows naturally. My heart ached for Genesis as she does everything from bathing in milk to scrubbing with a scouring pad to rid herself of her black skin. Her naivete is shocking and often hard to believe, but the rise of bleaching creams shows me otherwise.

Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is INCREDIBLE. My heart absolutely broke for Genesis as I read her story, thinking of all the amazing kids I’ve taught who might have felt that same self-loathing. This is a story that I hope will be a kinder mirror for those kids, showing them an honest glimpse of their own beauty, and an empathetic window for others. I was drawn right into Genesis’ story, feeling her conflicted emotions, her courageous triumphs, and her painful regrets. We need more books like this- own-voices books ...more
Aug 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade-ya
"I recall every bad memory, every negative word, because when I sing, I'm gonna conjure the loneliness of Billie Holiday, the joy of Ella Fitzgerald, the soul and longing of Etta James. I'll sing for every girl who feels like...feels like me." ...more
Sharon Velez Diodonet
"Every single night I've prayed for God to make me beautiful--make me light. And every morning I wake up exactly the same."


RATING: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Thank you to @authoraliciadwilliams for gifting a beautiful signed copy.

Genesis Begins Again is moving, heartbreaking and gutwrenching. Genesis is a 13 year old who is carrying an unbearable weight of grief, self hate and pain caused by generational colorism, her father's alcoholism and gambling problem, unstable housing and evic
Korrie’s Korner
5 stars!!

First off let me just say that this book broke my heart. It was so hard to read because colorism is alive and well within the black community, and I don’t ever see it going away. I would love to be able to say that I think it will, but how can it? It’s been here since the beginning of “time” here in America, and within other races in other countries. We’ve come along way, but just like with racism, there is still so much work to do.

Genesis is my girl. I feel like I was able to crawl int
Destiny Henderson
I can't help but wonder how it feels to be so bound up that you can't be or do what you want" (pg 72).

Despite the gorgeous cover, I was a bit wary about reading this because I didn’t know if this was just going to be a depressing-beat-you-down story. That type of stuff can drag your esteem down if you’re not already in a place of self-love. Thankfully, that wasn't the case. I think this is a great book for young black girls. It tackles the effects of colorism in a relatable way, even for those w
Jenna Friebel
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
2020 Newbery honor, my committee year!
Gretchen Rubin
Powerful, haunting, about many things. I was particularly interested in the main character's complex, deep love for her difficult father. ...more
Amber Webb
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We all have hurts. We all have pain. We all have lists of things we don't love about ourselves, but we all deserve a chance to begin again. We all deserve a fresh start.
Genesis Begins Again is a beautifully written novel about discovering who you are through those around you. It's about learning your history for better or worse. Genesis gets moved around the greater Detroit area thanks to her Dad's bad habits and irresponsibility. She is finally starting to feel settled in a place with people sh
Dec 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-releases
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This is a story about growing up, discovering your self-worth, and learning how to navigate complicated relationship. Genesis Begins Again is one of the best middle grade novels that I have ever read. I appreciated the fact that Williams did not hold back simply because she was writing a middle-grade novel. I want to put it in the hands of everyone of any age. I think a lot of young girls will really relate to Genesis’ story and her struggle to fit in when her comple
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful. We need more books like this for teens today. Genesis manages to be both wise and heartbreaking and - ultimately - uplifting. I'm sure her message will resonate with the intended readers of that age. I look forward to seeing more from Alicia D. Williams! ...more
A lot to like here. But as a former child who spent hours upon hours feeling sorry for herself, I found the character of Genesis so emotionally manipulating it triggered unhealthy mindsets. It almost overshadowed the important subject matter.
Oct 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This incredible book packs a ton of emotion. Told from the perspective a young black girl in her early teens, it reads almost like a memoir, giving us a first-person account of the day to day life of a child embroiled in a psychological war with the world around her. Poverty, substance-abuse, racism, colourism, bullying and generational trauma are the weapons fired relentlessly at Genesis. She is trying so hard to make sense of all of it and trying to make it STOP. But she's a child with only a ...more
Victor The Reader
Looking for the good out of a bad situation is never easy, but it’s a big challenge for Genesis. She has a difficult life at home that include her deadbeat dad who spites her and can’t keep a roof over his family. No matter what, her father’s behavior always make her feel negative all the time and believes that is because she vaguely resembles him. School slowly becomes a helpful outlet for her, and maybe giving her a brighter attitude. It’s certainly harsh and emotional mainly, but also funny a ...more
Ailynn Knox-Collins
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I found myself 'talking'(at times yelling) to the main character as I sometimes do to TV shows - that's how involved I was in this story. I was drawn in by young Genesis, and rooted for her all the way. Great read. ...more
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen, childrens-books
Genesis keeps a list of things that she hates about herself. Some of it is the color of her skin and the way that others tease her about how dark she is, unlike her light-skinned mother with good hair. Some of it is about the way that their family keeps getting kicked out of the houses they live in because they don’t pay the rent. Some of it is the way her father speaks about her when he is drunk. Some of it is based on her grandmother’s hurtful comments about Genesis. So after being kicked out ...more
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An intimate portrait of the life of a 13-year-old girl who struggles with self-loathing. She is part of an intact family, but where do you cross the line from keeping the family together to putting the father's needs above the child's? Unfortunately the faith in her grandmother's life does not translate into the love and support Genesis needs. The world Genesis lives in is unfamiliar to me and this novel opens my eyes to the struggles of young women like her. Many young tweens and young teen gir ...more
Jun 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
oh... this wrecked me.
i really want there to be more books like this, especially for younger readers. the narrative was so real it hurt and i hate that the things genesis deals with are not just fictional— they're actually happening.

the author did a very good job at writing a middle schooler and genesis was a lovely character, i really liked her.
Sarah Wilsman
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-j-fic
This should be an award contender - coming of age #ownvoices
I could not put this one down and ended up listening to it all in one sitting. Umm yeah, I went to bed very late! This is a book that focuses more on internalizing the racism that one learns from society and ones' own family and the harm it can end up having through generations. In this one, Genesis is born very dark-skinned with "nappy hair" as others call it (and she hates it) and struggling with trying to earn her equally dark father's approval. But he struggles with alcoholism primarily (pro ...more
Katie Reilley
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I picked this one up after Colby Sharp recommended it, and I’m grateful I did.

Genesis faces many issues that middle school students contend with: making friends, academic struggles, parental addictions, poverty, and finding self-acceptance despite the insult placed in her life.

An important read for middle grade students and the adults in their lives.
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What's there to know about Alicia D? Well, that depends on who you ask.

If you ask kindergartners, they'd tell you:

1. She likes chunky guacamole.

2. She likes shiny things.

3. She tells good stories.

If you ask her middle schoolers, they'd surely say:

1. She gets us.

2. She makes us laugh with all her jokes.

3. She is Da BOMB.

While all of these may be true, there are a few more points to add . . . Alicia

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