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The Only Black Girls in Town

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  1,924 ratings  ·  408 reviews
Award-winning YA author Brandy Colbert's debut middle-grade novel about the only two black girls in town who discover a collection of hidden journals revealing shocking secrets of the past.

Beach-loving surfer Alberta has been the only black girl in town for years. Alberta's best friend, Laramie, is the closest thing she has to a sister, but there are some things even Lara
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published March 10th 2020 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,924 ratings  ·  408 reviews

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Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
This book was fantastic. It was my 4th Brandy Colbert book and I think I can now officially declare her a favorite author bc I enjoy every book by her honestly a little more than the last and this one was no exception. I honestly love her her ability to weave so! many! complex things into a single story and this was just SO GOOD. If you haven't read a book by her yet, you absolutely need to. ...more
- This book follows Alberta, a 12 year old black girl from California. She's such a nice character to read about, and also really good at surfing which is a prominent aspect of this book I loved.

- The plot of this book is based on Alberta meeting the new girl in her town, Edie, who is also the only black kid her age where they live — most people are white. Alberta's and Edie's friendship is so heartwarming and relatable and I was continually rooting for both of them.

- If you read this book, you'
Mar 04, 2020 added it
Shelves: read-in-2020
It should be no surprise Colbert's middle grade debut is FABULOUS. ...more
The Only Black Girls in Town is a middle grade story told from the perspective of Alberta who resides in a beach town in California. She's used to being the only Black girl, but wishes for a Black companion that understands certain aspects of her life that her friends would not be able to understand. Alberta gets her wish when Edie moves into the B&B by her house. Edie is definitely not what Alberta expects. She wears a lot of black clothes and black lipstick and is from Brooklyn, NY. Despite th ...more
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I loved this! And also wish it had been around when I was in middle school.
Erin Kelly
Jul 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Kate Olson
Jan 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Such a unique and touching story about fitting in, middle school, family and friendship with a strong focus on being Black in America both from a present day and historical perspective.

Main characters are in 7th grade but totally fine for elementary as well. Some brief mentions of crushes but not a strong focus on dating or romantic relationships.
Jun 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, middle-grade
4.5 - This was such a lovely Middle Grade story about two young Black girls living in a predominately white town and how that impacts them. Through Alberta and Edie the readers get to see the microaggressions that they face from their peers and also teachers. The story covers friendship, family, modern day prejudices, and learning about the history of racism in the US.

There were so many wonderful things about this book. I appreciated that it was casually queer as Alberta has two dads. And Alber
Vanessa S.
Alberta has been the only Black girl in her beach town for years, so she is thrilled to learn that a Black family with a 12-year-old daughter, Edie, is moving into the bed and breakfast across the street from her. In the midst of navigating their budding friendship, Alberta and Edie discover some old journals in the attic of the bed and breakfast and set out on a journey to uncover the journals’ history and origin.

What I Liked:
* Alberta is Black and has two Black dads who had her through surroga
Shaye Miller
Apr 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: diversity
I absolutely loved this debut middle-grade novel about Alberta and Edie -- the only black girls in town. Edie is new to town after her mother purchased a bed and breakfast. When Edie decides to make her bedroom in the attic of her new home, she and Alberta find a whole pile of journals left behind by someone who passed years ago. Simultaneously, they are experiencing racism in their community and coming to terms with who they can count on. This was such a pleasant surprise! I would classify it a ...more
The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears
I have SO MUCH TO say about this awesome book and I don't know exactly where to begin. I had to re-read this again - SLOWLY - because I wanted to savor every moment of a book that I couldn't stop loving.

Firstly though, a book about Black girls who surf and who dress goth. How could I NOT like this? This is one of those books I wish existed when I was younger. Even now it's like I feel SEEN! And that's important. There's a reason why the hashtag #representationmatters exists. Alberta and Edie ar
4 stars

Middle-grade books about kids uncovering local histories and mysteries!!! More of them pls!! Okay but seriously, I have read some Brandy Colbert stuff before, but this one is definitely my favorite work of hers so far. The characters and friendships in this are just!! Next level!! And I love the historical mystery aspect of it and the hidden journals ahhhh!! The entire thing was just so much fun to follow?? And I like how at its heart this is a book about family and friendship and communi
Ms. Yingling
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Alberta has always lived in Ewing Beach, California, a town that is almost all white, with her Dad and her other dad, Elliott. She's used to being the only black girl in her grade, so she's excited when new black neighbors move into the house that was Mrs. Harris' bed and breakfast. She imagines all of the different ways she can imagine the new girl, but Edie doesn't look like any of her ideas! Coming from Brooklyn, Edie dresses in a Goth fashion, complete with bl
Aug 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Okay I loved this one, and I really didn't think I would. But what a pleasure it was to read a MG book where the voice felt genuinely middle grade, and where it touched upon delicate issues in an age appropriate way. This was also a book that did a great job of talking about race, of talking about Black people, in a way that didn't feel steeped in trauma. Alberta was met with challenges as one of the only Black girls in town, but she was also met with the challenges of being a middle schooler an ...more
Kim M
This book deserves more ratings.

I don't read a lot of middle grade, and I wouldn't have checked this book out if I had known that's what it was. But I'm glad I did. This is a gentle realistic contemporary about friendship, family history, and self identity. It also deals with race and microaggressions in such a way that will be very subtly eye-opening to young white readers. The characters are all endearing and fun and the book is never boring. Would recommend this book for all middle grade read
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell
This sounds adorable! I'm delighted to have been given an ARC! ...more
Jun 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
If this had been a YA, I'm sure it would be 5* for me but being middle grade fiction... it fell short in a few areas namely the end bit with Nicolette... However, I really enjoyed this.

The mystery aspect was captivating. Plus, both Edie and Alberta were great kids. The representation is this book is amazing, as Alberta is a surrogate baby to two gay men.

It all felt very realistic to a middle school experience and I hope a lot of younger kids read this. Standing up to bullying and understanding
Jun 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars. I am not exaggerating when I say that Brandy Colbert writes some of the best literature I know for children and young adults. What a wonderful read, touching on shifting friendships, growing up, and what it means to be Black in a predominantly white town -- all with a hint of mystery too! I so enjoyed it.
Kelly Hager
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book! The synopsis is a little misleading, because it definitely deals more with Alberta and her relationships (with her dads and with her two good friends, Edie and Laramie). The journals are definitely important, but it's not the most vital piece of the story. (Also, I was pretty sure I knew what the "shocking and painful" secret was, and I'm really happy I was wrong. It never would've occurred to me. I would still call it a painful secret.)

I think a lot of people could
May 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It’s not often I read a middle grade novel that has it all, but I can definitively say that this one did. Alberta struggles with puberty, growing up, bullying, race, family and friend changes, following her passion and so much more in this coming-of-age novel that also includes historical fiction elements, a mystery and just a great middle grade novel in general. I’ll be recommending this one a lot in the fall.
Jan 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
All kinds of families. The main character, Alberta, an African American 7th grader is the daughter of two dads. Her neighbor and new friend, Edie, is living in a newly broken family. In addition to the focus on family, including a surprising family secret, this book accurately captures seventh grade issues: mean girls, the overwhelming desire to be popular, and first crushes.
Jeanie Phillips
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: who-s-outside
Listened to this advanced listening copy on and loved it! On one level this is a story about middle school friendships. On another, it is about a family navigating mostly white spaces. And there is a third story, a mystery that our main character Alberta and her new friend Edie slowly unravel. It is this third story that really kept me hooked!
Jun 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My twelve-year-old devoured this book as soon as it arrived, and I finally had the chance to read it myself. What a fantastic friendship story and I just loved the families and the setting and the historical mystery. Absolutely spectacular!!!
Debbi Florence
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book!
This is a really special book, and I have no idea how to properly review it. I think this will be a very important read for young Black readers, because it deals with race in so many different ways and in such a layered way. It deals with Black history, it deals with growing up Black in a predominantly white small town, it deals with microaggressions and how there are many different ways to be Black. And that's not even all of it.

It's honestly amazing to see how many themes this book dealt with
A great story about growing up different in a predominantly white community and just what it means when you finally meet someone who can fully understand your experience. The added mystery of the journals from the past was a wonderful storyline to add to the girls' journey, and ours. ...more
Dec 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Only Black Girls in Town follows Alberta, a young black girl in a predominantly white town in California. When the Bed & Breakfast that neighbours her house is bought by new owners, Alberta is excited to discover the owner has a daughter her age, who is just like her. Despite having a best friend, Alberta is excited to meet Edie, someone with whom she has shared experiences. But is being black enough to bring them together?

The Only Black Girls in Town was SUCH a delight to read! Alberta is s
Lorie Barber
Listened to the one on audio, as I’m trying to gather inclusive audio books for my kids.

I 100% loved THE ONLY BLACK GIRLS IN TOWN with my whole heart. Alberta & Edie, Laramie & Oliver are wonderful characters. Alberta is beautifully introspective, and Edie’s buoyant personality is a great complement.

The secondary plot of Constance, how the mystery unravels and brings the two girls closer together while teaching the reader about the sacrifices - sometimes even the sacrifice of self - Black peop
Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book deserves all the praise! It was such a thought-provoking, heartfelt story. They characters leapt off the page you couldn’t help but to root for them! Filled with history and heart, this is a solid must read
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Brandy Colbert was born and raised in the Missouri Ozarks. She lives and writes in Los Angeles.

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