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Genesis Begins Again

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  1,223 ratings  ·  286 reviews
An NPR Favorite Book of 2019
A School Library Journal Best Middle Grade Book of 2019
A Kirkus Reviews Best Middle Grade Book of 2019

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
...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published January 15th 2019 by Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
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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…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.
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Average rating 4.34  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,223 ratings  ·  286 reviews


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Kristen
Dec 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
Edelweiss+ provided me a DRC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

WE. NEED. MORE. MIDDLE. GRADE. BOOKS. LIKE. THIS.

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.
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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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Liz
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
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Shari
Jan 01, 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 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
Amber Webb
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
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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
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Kristin
Dec 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-releases
Find More Reviews On My Blog!

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
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D'Arcy
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Afoma Umesi
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.

Genesis
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Ailynn Knox-Collins
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.
Tasha
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Katie Reilley
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Tracy
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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Amalie Jahn
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Leslie
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 ...more
abi
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Shari
Jan 02, 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 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 ...more
DaNae
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.
Sarah Wilsman
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-j-fic
This should be an award contender - coming of age #ownvoices
Emily Polson
Reminiscent of The Bluest Eye, but packaged for a middle grade audience. For me, the execution fell a bit short of what it could have been, but I hope this book serves as a mirror or a window to young readers.
Tedi
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“I’ll tell you what beauty ain’t. It ain’t some organ hidden on the inside – no one cares about how good your heart is. And another thing, being black like me ain’t nothing to be proud about.”

I haven’t been floored by a book in awhile. The story is full of such raw, and powerful moments that Williams artfully navigates. Ultimately, Genesis Begins Again is a story of acceptance: of wanting to be accepted by others, of learning how to accept yourself, of learning that you can refuse to accept the
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Jessica Hernandez
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joshua
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best middle grade books I've read in a long time. The voice is compelling and it guides the reader through some difficult topics and lands them safely in a good place. I am grateful this book exists, and it's going to change the lives of some of the kids that read it.
Darla
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Chelsea Bashore
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Seriously stunning. This story hits on so many important things that deal with identity, belonging, and loving yourself. I can’t wait to hand this to my girls.
Laura Gardner
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
/5 for this stunning, heartbreaking #mglit book by @aliciadiane70 (another debut!). Thanks to @afomaumesi for reviewing this book—her excellent review made me prioritize reading it!
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extremely compulsive read (like ignore your family and hide to finish)
complex storyline
characters you’re rooting for
MUSIC! Genesis is introduced to Billie Holiday, Etta James and more by her wonderful music teacher
awesome message (Black is beautiful!)
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I’m reading GHOST BOYS out loud with my 7th graders and we
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Prince William Public Library System
I LOVE THIS BOOK.

It is heartbreaking at times, but worth it. Genesis hates herself, and keeps a list of reasons why (a list nearly one hundred points long). One major reason: she hates her dark skin. Part of that comes from mean kids at school who bully her (her family ostracizes her for her skin, too). To make things worse, her father has a gambling addiction, often displacing her family, and forcing them to move around frequently.

Then she moves in with her grandmother, and things begin to
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Gail Shepherd
This lovely, heartfelt debut deals with issues we don't confront often in middle grade fiction, specifically internalized racism passed down through generations (hence the comparison to Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye), as it examines our cultural standards of beauty and what damage those standards can do to the self-esteem and dignity of young people. Genesis doesn't pass "the paper bag test" her family uses to determine beauty and suitability--she's dark and her hair refuses straightening--some ...more
Joy Kirr
Wow. I didn't know what this book was when I picked it up. I got sucked into it quickly and then BAM! A surprise out of nowhere half-way through. As Hubby's from Detroit, I knew about the differences between Detroit and Farmington Hills, yet I had no clue about even the IDEA of the surprise (no spoilers here), and it was such a window into a world I wouldn't have even thought of. I'll be rooting for Genesis and every other child who doesn't feel like they fit in their skin (Sophia, too) for a ...more
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