Cover image for A good kind of trouble / Lisa Ramee.
A good kind of trouble / Lisa Ramee.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Blazer + Bray, 2019.

Physical Description:
358 pages ; 22 cm
After attending a powerful protest, Shayla starts wearing an armband to school to support the Black Lives Matter movement, but when the school gives her an ultimatum, she is forced to choose between her education and her identity.
Audience/Reading Level:
Interest age level: 8-12.


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
RAM Book Junior Collection

On Order



From debut author Lisa Moore Ramée comes this funny and big-hearted debut middle grade novel about friendship, family, and standing up for what's right, perfect for fans of Angie Thomas's The Hate U Give and the novels of Renée Watson and Jason Reynolds.

Twelve-year-old Shayla is allergic to trouble. All she wants to do is to follow the rules. (Oh, and she'd also like to make it through seventh grade with her best friendships intact, learn to run track, and have a cute boy see past her giant forehead.)

But in junior high, it's like all the rules have changed. Now she's suddenly questioning who her best friends are and some people at school are saying she's not black enough. Wait, what?

Shay's sister, Hana, is involved in Black Lives Matter, but Shay doesn't think that's for her. After experiencing a powerful protest, though, Shay decides some rules are worth breaking. She starts wearing an armband to school in support of the Black Lives movement. Soon everyone is taking sides. And she is given an ultimatum.

Shay is scared to do the wrong thing (and even more scared to do the right thing), but if she doesn't face her fear, she'll be forever tripping over the next hurdle. Now that's trouble, for real.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Twelveyearold Shay's palms itch when she senses trouble coming, and this year, they seem to be itching more than ever. She and her elementary school besties had dubbed themselves "the United Nations"-Isabella is Puerto Rican, Julia is JapaneseAmerican, and Shay is AfricanAmerican-but everyone begins moving in different directions as junior high begins. Julia is hanging out more with the Asian girls from her basketball team, and Isabella attracts Shay's crush when she gets her braces off, leaving Shay jealous. In addition, Shay's sister, Hana, critiques her for not having black friends, something that Shay isn't sure matters. Meanwhile, in their city of Los Angeles, tensions are high over the trial of a police officer who shot an unarmed black man. When the officer is set free, and Shay goes with her family to a silent protest, she starts to see that some trouble is worth making. Ramée effectively portrays the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement and the difficulty of navigating complex social situations while conveying universal middle school questions about friendship, first crushes, and identity. Shay's journey is an authentic and engaging political and personal awakening. Ages 8-12. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

Shaylas goals for her first year of junior high are simple. Attract the attention of the cute guy. Avoid the class bully. Dont make waves. Stay close to her two best friends, Isabella and Julia (with Isabella being Puerto Rican, Julia Japanese American, and Shayla African American, they call themselves the United Nations). Unfortunately, it would seem that seventh grade has other plans for Shayla, and soon a schoolwide dare game and new social dynamics throw all of her relationships into turmoil. Even as she laments the drama that comes with crushes and miscommunication, Shayla becomes increasingly aware of the Black Lives Matter movement as her Los Angeles community awaits the verdict in a police-shooting case. When the police officer is acquitted, Shayla must decide if shes willing to stir up trouble for a cause she believes in. Shaylas first-person account is honest and relatable as she tries to do the right thing by her peers, her school community, and herself. The protagonists emotional and civic maturation is believably portrayed, and as her understanding of the Black Lives Matter movement clarifies and deepens, so does the readers. (While themes of homophobia, cultural appropriation, and sexual harassment are also introduced, theyre not as fully explored.) Rames debut novel presents a nuanced view of race, self-discovery, and social justice. eboni njoku March/April 2019 p 88(c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.