From award-winning author Tanita S. Davis comes a nuanced exploration of the microaggressions of middle school and a young Black girl named Madalyn who learns that being a good friend means dealing with the blue skies and the rain—and having the tough conversations on days that are partly cloudy. Perfect for fans of A Good Kind of Trouble and From the Desk of Zoe Washington.
Lightning couldn’t strike twice, could it? After a terrible year, Madalyn needs clear skies desperately. Moving in with her great-uncle, Papa Lobo, and switching to a new school is just the first step.
It’s not all rainbows and sunshine, though. Madalyn discovers she’s the only Black girl in her class, and while most of her classmates are friendly, assumptions lead to some serious storms.
Papa Lobo’s long-running feud with neighbor Mrs. Baylor brings wild weather of its own, and Madalyn wonders just how far things will go. But when fire threatens the community, Madalyn discovers that truly being neighborly means more than just staying on your side of the street— it means weathering tough conversations—and finding that together a family can pull through anything.
Award-winning author Tanita S. Davis shows us that life isn’t always clear, and that partly cloudy days still contain a bit of blue worth celebrating.
About the Author
Tanita S. Davis is the award-winning author of six novels for middle grade and young adult readers, including Serena Says, Peas and Carrots, Happy Families, and Mare’s War, which was a Coretta Scott King Award Honor book and earned her a nomination for the NAACP Image Award. She grew up in California and was so chatty as a kid that her mother begged her to “just write it down.” Now she’s back in California, doing her best to keep writing it all down. www.tanitasdavis.com
"Davis captures the often glossed over tenderness of preadolescence, the space between blossoming independence and a lingering desire for the comfort and support of caregivers. As feel-good realistic fiction, this title reminds young readers that families and friendships alike require honesty, compromise, and understanding—especially when the forecast is partly cloudy." — Booklist (starred review)
"Young readers will grapple with different interpretations and come to their own conclusions about how not to let the bad actions of others allow one to compromise one’s core principles, and the sticky question of whether any part of the burden for making peace rests with those who are the victims of discrimination. The California setting, amid the reality of the state’s wildfires, will resonate with readers who live with climate-related threats. A timely novel full of thought-provoking questions."
— Kirkus Reviews
"In this gentle multigenerational narrative, Davis (Serena Says) explores race, tough conversations, and climate change as her endearing protagonist learns to face conflict and embrace community." — Publishers Weekly
"Timely and original. A tender, honest look at friendship, family and the changing nature of both. I so related with Madalyn grappling with the big and small storms life threw her way and cheered when she learned she had the strength to weather just about anything. A delightful, inspiring read." — Lisa Moore Ramee, author of A Good Kind of Trouble and Something to Say
Praise for SERENA SAYS: "Middle school energy forms a bustling backdrop for this clever story of navigating changing relationships and developing a sense of personal identity. At the center is spirited, smart Serena, someone readers will appreciate and cheer. A delightful multicultural narrative that spotlights friendship and self-awareness." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Serena is a smart, intuitive Black girl with relatable fears and insecurities; as the book progresses, she decides she’s ready to step into the spotlight all on her own. Davis capably touches on matters of chronic illness, mental health, and friendship growing pains in this quiet but impactful slice-of-life novel." — Publishers Weekly
"Being the new kid in seventh grade isn’t easy, and [neither is] being Black in a sea of white and brown faces. Davis suggests alternate paths for her protagonist—and by extension, readers—through Madalyn’s challenge: assess whether the friendship is worth pursuing and, if so, insist on the difficult and honest conversations necessary to lay its foundation; or accept the permanence of disaffection, while acting with dignity and respect. Madalyn and Natalie’s . . . mutual courage in reaching for reconciliation offers readers much to ponder." — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
"This deeply relatable novel about changing friendships and finding your voice is one I desperately needed as a kid. Serena's voice is pitch-perfect and Davis's portrayal of middle school struggles is both captivating and heartfelt." — Janae Marks, author of From the Desk of Zoe Washington
“Relatable, honest, wise and witty: Serena Says is an essential read for all of us learning to find our voice.” — Lisa Greenwald, author of the TBH and Friendship List series