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Genesis Begins Again

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  3,757 ratings  ·  723 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 4.39  · 
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 ·  3,757 ratings  ·  723 reviews

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Dec 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
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
mindful.librarian ☀️
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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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
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
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
Afoma Umesi
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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.

Jenna Friebel
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
2020 Newbery honor, my committee year!
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."
Gretchen Rubin
Powerful, haunting, about many things. I was particularly interested in the main character's complex, deep love for her difficult father.
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!
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.
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.
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-books, teen
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
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
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.
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.
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow! I read this book after reading a book that I did not want to read and had taken me 2 weeks to finish, but this book I read the entire thing in a day because it was that good. The voices of the characters were authentic. I thought the topics were real which sucked me right into the story. My heart broke for Genesis so many times, but just like in real life you have people that come into your life at just the right moments that lift you up and give you the encouragement that you need in hard ...more
Tonja Drecker
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Raw, realistic and, at times, heart-breaking, this is a read which tackles a tough topic and gets under the skin.

Genesis' excitement at finally having found friends crashes as their sudden visit to her home ends with the family's entire belongings on the front lawn. Thanks to her father, they've been kicked out of the house again, and her new found friends turn this into a chance to make even more fun of her. If the problems with her father and their family life weren't enough, they now are movi
Amalie Jahn
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In a word... GLORIOUS.

Sometimes you come across a book that encompasses so much of the human condition, it speaks to your entire soul. Genesis Begins Again is one of those books.

While this story follows the journey of Genesis specifically and the many ways she hates herself, I believe the author tells this story in such a way as to speak to anyone who has ever felt 'less than' in one way or another. I also loved that she tackled the difficult conversation of blackness from within the black commu
In what reads like new beginnings, her father’s latest failure to pay the rent moves them out of Detroit and into white wealthy suburbia. Genesis’ father has an opportunity for a promotion and her mother is revisiting her own prospects. A work contact agreed to rent them a big house with a yard and a washer/dryer that is within walking distance to a new school for Genesis. It’s at Farmington Oaks Middle where Genesis will finally make friends, decide what she wants for herself, and meet the pivo ...more
Destinee Sutton
In the middle of reading this, my hold on New Kid came in. I was so excited, I set this book aside and finished New Kid the same day I started it. Then I found myself really not wanting to go back to Genesis. I feel a little guilty not finishing it, but I think I read enough to understand that even though this a good book, it's too depressing for me right now. The part where I put it down Genesis had just really hurt herself trying to exfoliate to make her skin lighter. Her grandma had just told ...more
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
content warnings: colourism, (internalised) racism, bullying, alcoholism

This book is going to be so so important for so many young people and I really hope it reaches a wide audience. It's unflinching, it dares to confront tough topics and it bravely and accurately depicts the anxieties of a modern teenage girl.

I adored Genesis, and whilst she felt slightly mature, she also made choices which were completely in line for a character of that age which made her seem more realistic. She was complet
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is INCREDIBLE. My heart absolutely broke for Genesis as I read her story, thinking of all the amazing kids 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- #ownvoices books by #authorso ...more
The titular Genesis is a wonderful, flawed, thoughtful 13-year-old and this story is special because of her. I really liked the discussions about colorism - I've read plenty of middle grade books about racism point blank, but not as many about the intricacies of colorism in black families and communities. Williams writes adult characters that are also very three-dimensional: a father who continues to mess up, a mother who is Genesis's rock, a grandmother who has questionable beliefs, and a lovel ...more
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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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Dhonielle Clayton is a YA author, a 2018 Goodreads Choice Award nominee, and the chief operating officer of We Need Diverse Books, a...
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