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Redwood and Ponytail

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  771 ratings  ·  212 reviews
Told in verse in two voices, with a chorus of fellow students, this is a story of two girls, opposites in many ways, who are drawn to each other; Kate appears to be a stereotypical cheerleader with a sleek ponytail and a perfectly polished persona, Tam is tall, athletic and frequently mistaken for a boy, but their deepening friendship inevitably changes and reveals them in ...more
Hardcover, 424 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by Chronicle Books
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Average rating 4.18  · 
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 ·  771 ratings  ·  212 reviews

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mindful.librarian ☀️
(free review copy via @kidlitexchange ) I have loved every book K.A. Holt has written, but this one is by far my favorite. The verse just pops off the page and the story of first love between two very different 7th grade girls is just so vibrant and authentic. The format of side-by-side alternating verse on most pages (narrated by the two girls) with the "Greek chorus" of other students adding in their 2 cents is just so compelling. I was drawn in emotionally and was instantly rooting for this ...more
Sep 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: came-soon-18-19

And when she giggles
I see the brownie
stuck to her teeth
and it looks so sweet
and gross
my insides get warm
and melty,
a gross undercooked brownie
of their own.

Overall, Redwood & Ponytail is a brilliant (as in bright) novel from an incredibly gifted author. The story, while not always being super exciting, was enjoyable and kind, which is all I need from a book nowadays. This shortish and certainly sweetish book is perfect for those looking for a
Dec 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Redwood and Ponytail is such a beautiful story told in verse, Tam and Kate are so cute, a great F/F LGBTQ+ middle grade book. I liked the unique style of this book, thank you to the publishers for sending me a review copy. I did find parts of the book a little difficult to distinguish who was saying what and if the headers weren't there I would of been even more confused, at times i had to keep rereading and checking I was reading it correct in the correct person. The book goes through a journey ...more
Brittany Bays
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amazing. Necessary. Adorable. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this book and it exceeded all my expectations! I can't wait for this book to be out in the world for young readers to get their hands on.
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I feel incoherent with emotion about this book. I mostly wish that I'd had a sibling as kind and loving as Kate's...the kind of sibling who would have your back when you try to tell your family who you are, but their answer is "No." The kind of sibling who would've told you they loved you no matter who you love, who would've said to be your true self no matter what anyone else says or thinks.

The author said she wrote this book for her 12-year-old self, and for anyone else who needs (or needed)
Ann Braden
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book needs to be on every classroom bookshelf. I LOVED it and each time I visit a school I booktalk it and EVERY SINGLE TIME there is a student (sometimes a girl and sometimes a boy) who yelps in excitement when I explain what it's about. And often they are coming up to me afterwards to verify that it really IS about two girls who "like" each other like that. They are waiting anxiously for this book. I'm so excited for as many kids to get to read this as possible!
Jun 15, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read an eARC of this novel through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest review.

I generally adore verse novels, so when I came across a sapphic verse novel in a blogpost by Dahlia Adler, I immediately knew I wanted to read it. So I was very excited when I saw I was able to read the eARC already. And while I did mostly enjoy this novel, I have somewhat mixed feelings about it.

Let me start off by saying I think this middlegrade novel is amazing for the target audience: a verse novel for kids
Julie Jaeger
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Redwood and Ponytail is a beautiful book. Written in verse, this is a necessary tale of two girls falling in like and discovering themselves. It is a story about emotional connections, between the two girls, their families, and their friends. There are not enough books out there for this age covering this topic. K.A. Holts writing is just gorgeous, and this is a book that every middle school kid should read. ...more
Scarllet ✦ iamlitandwit
It makes me think that
if something feels
so perfectly right like this,
if the universe can hold us
in its hands like this,
then of course nothings weird
or wrong
or different.

Throughout my reading of Redwood and Ponytail the main thought in my mind was.. I wish I had a book like this when I was younger. I'm not sure how I would've reacted to it since all I knew was that girls crushing on boys was okay and didn't even think you can crush on a girl ala Kate when she found out about Frankie and Roxy.

La Coccinelle
It's been a while since I read a book this long. But, being that this is a novel in verse, it reads fairly quickly.

Redwood and Ponytail is the story of two middle-school girls and their discovering of their sexuality. I enjoyed most of this story, but there are a couple of things that prevented me from really liking the book.

First, there's the issue of the audience not quite matching the writing. I can see how the author was in a tricky place here. This is supposed to be about two girls
Author K.A. Holt hits it out of the ballpark with this title. Middle grade readers who have enjoyed her earlier books won't be disappointed with this novel in verse featuring two seventh grade girls who might seem to have nothing in common but are nevertheless drawn to each other. Kate (Ponytail) is the leader of the pack, her crew of cheerleaders, and she seems to have it all together, from the permanent smile on her face to her perfectly-placed bow in her hair. Tam (Redwood) is tall and solid ...more
Thank you, NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to read this novel.

Rating: 2.5 stars
Rep: questioning MCs...f/f relationship.
TW: a couple of instances of homophobia.

First off, I think this is a "me not you" situation, judging by all the 4 and 5 star reviews I read, I would 100% recommend checking out those beforehand!

In all honesty, I was going to DNF this book, but I really wanted to give it a chance and it definitely did pick up! The more I read the more invested I became, but it took
Shauna Yusko
Oct 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Jamie Coudeville
This book was better than I'd expected. To be honest, my eyes had kind of skipped over the "written in verse" part of the description so my first thought was "Oh, no." I'd only ever read one other book in verse and was kind of disappointed by it. However, I was pleasantly surprised by this one. The verse style really worked for the story, especially the back and forth moments between the girls. So yeah, I cute and fun read.
Mary Thomas
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Chronicle books for an ARC at ALA!

This sweet Middle grades book is about first crushes and figuring out who you are... I think it is going to be WILDLY popular with my students! Recommend for 4th/5th and up!! 🌈🌈🌟🌟📚📚
•°• gabs •°•
Oct 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
this made me smile and it also made me cry (a lot) and i really wish i had books like this when i was little.

i'm not giving it 5 stars because there is an outing scene which although doesn't have negative effects, it's still an outing and it is never questioned, so it makes me uncomfortable.
Deedi (DeediReads) Brown
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: partner-requests
All my reviews live at

A photo of a page from Redwood and Ponytail by K.A. Holt

Big thanks to the team at Chronicle Books for sending me a finished copy of this beautiful little novel in exchange for an honest review!

Here is pretty much everything you need to know about this book in order to know how great it is: Redwood and Ponytail is a novel about two 12-year-old girls who fall in like with one another and then work their way through all the joys and difficulties that come with that and its written entirely in
Dec 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm so grateful for @chroniclekidsbooks today because they sent me a copy of K.A. Holt's newest middle grade verse novel, and it's a perfect sweetness at the end of this very intense week of school.

And *Redwood and Ponytail* IS sweet--but it is also necessary. There aren't many verse novels I connect with--and I don't read a lot of middle grade texts either--but this one shimmers with its emotional truth about awakening to one's sexual identity.

What begins as a cute love story budding between
Mar 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
I liked a lot about this gentle, gay romance told as a novel-in-verse, but I keep coming back to the strange hatred of boy bands - and specifically, girls who like boy bands. Theres this idea presented in the book that theres something dumb about girls who like boy bands, and that you cant be attracted to both girls and boys in boy bands - which gets kinda like bi-erasure to me. Theres nothing wrong with liking boy bands, or cheerleading, just like theres nothing wrong with not liking those ...more
This was so utterly wonderful.

This is 500% a book I could have used as a young gay girl.

I connected so well with both Kate and Tam their friendship, and their mutual crushes on each other was so precious to read. I enjoyed their every single interaction. And I enjoyed reading them coming closer, their pinkies finding each other, and both of them slowly realising they had crushes on each other.

I loved Kates coming out, and her realisation that yes, she is a lesbian, and no matter how hard she
Jenn Bishop
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED THIS BOOK. Also, it might have made me snort out loud in the waiting room at the doctor's while I was reading it. So affirming and true to life, but also wise and funny and real.
I was excited about reading this sapphic middle grade novel-in-verse, but I have mixed feelings about it. There were some beautiful lines of poetry, particularly as the girls questioned their attraction to each other. Internalized homophobia was discussed, which can be triggering for some readers, but I appreciated that this was included in the character's coming-out process because it was realistic. I enjoyed seeing Kate's evolution as a character over the course of the novel, but thought Tam ...more
Apichya K.
Nov 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book had two different perspectives and was very easy to read and understand. I liked how the two people in the story kept changing around on what was going on around them. It is very easy to understand since the author put two people's perspectives separately.
Review originally published on my blog, Books and Big Ideas.

I received an eARC in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Netgalley and Chronicle Books.

Queer girls are really (finally!) having a moment in middle grade literature, so naturally I was looking forward to K.A. Holts new middle grade book, and I devoured it in just a couple of days before its release. I havent read any of Holts books before, but Id heard they were popular with upper elementary and middle schoolers, and I really
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
I love all the KA Holts novels I have read, and Timothy form House Arrest is one of my favorite characters ever. I even have a place in my heart for Rhyme Schemers troublemaker-poet Kevin, and I was happy when Levi (House Arrest) grew into his own novel.

Tam (Redwood) and Kate (Ponytail) come from two different worlds.
Kates mom puts helicopter parents to shame. She has orchestrated Kates entire life so that in 7th grade she will become cheer captain and she will follow her mothers lifeunlike her
Sep 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbt, netgalley
I received this e-arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

TL;DR: Please give this to your middle schoolers! Amazing. Well written. Timeless. Quick read. Age appropriate. Worthwhile. Will make you feel things and probably cry - especially if youve ever been through these things before. Coming of age. Accepting yourself. Wholesome.

The first couple of pages didnt catch me because I hadnt gotten a feel for the two characters voices yet. A few pages more in and I couldnt put it down.
Claire Olivia
An impossibly sweet novel in verse. The characters are lifelike and beautifully written. The friendship is so sweet, and I have never shipped two characters more. They're perfect together. And the themes of growing up and finding out who you are are well-drawn and all too real.

Kate, I think, is the better fleshed-out main character. She felt especially real. She has a fully developed family, and her struggles feel like they get more attention. She's such a sweetheart, and she makes a lot of
Oct 23, 2019 rated it liked it
I would say 3.75 really.......

I did like the idea of this book, I just thought that the author could have done a little more with it. Added more detail, more inner thinking so that younger kids can understand clearly how Kate and Tam feel, because it is about a subject that is very hard to understand. Overall I'm glad I read it and I know that other people really loved this book.
Sep 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received this book from Abrams&Chronicle in exchange for an honest review.

Kate and Tam are from the opposites sides of the tracks in their high school. Kate is the perfect cheerleader with an overbearing mom, and Tam is the volleyball jock with a bounce to her step. But somehow the two end up becoming friends, and then a little bit more. But can the girls accept themselves for who they truly are - both within themselves and their own sexual identity.

This is a really great book written in
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