Wes Henderson has the best style in sixth grade. That—and hanging out with the crew (his best friends since little-kid days) and playing video games—is what Wes wants to be thinking about at the start of the school year, not the protests his parents are always dragging him to.
But when a powerful real estate developer makes an offer to buy Kensington Oaks, the neighborhood Wes has lived in his whole life, everything changes. The grown-ups are supposed to have all the answers, but all they’re doing is arguing. Even Wes’s best friends are fighting. And some of them may be moving. Wes isn’t about to give up the only home he’s ever known without a fight. He’s always been good at puzzles, and he knows there must be a missing piece that will solve this puzzle and save the Oaks. But can he find it before it’s too late?
Chrystal D. Giles’s timely debut explores community, social justice, family, and friendship, and asks what it means to belong—to a place and a movement—and to fight for a cause that you believe in.
Chrystal D. Giles is a champion for diversity in children's literature and made her debut with Take Back the Block, which has received multiple starred reviews. Chrystal lives outside Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband and son and is currently working on her next middle grade novel. Visit her at chrystaldgiles.com and @creativelychrys.
★ "The story echoes contemporary realities that, as its culmination indicates, take an entire community to confront, and it will undoubtedly push readers into action. An ambitious invitation for young readers that delivers promise for all." —Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
★ "This impressive debut is notable for its depiction of how gentrification pushes the working-class poor out of neighborhoods, as well as substantive ways that communities can protest, all for a middle grade audience. Wes is a humorous, likable, relatable narrator. . . . Giles has crafted an outstanding depiction of the nuances of gentrification as well as the struggle and joys of working-class Black families and communities." —School Library Journal, Starred Review
“In dealing with challenging themes around gentrification, the story capably illustrates the practice’s social costs through characters who humanize and simplify this complicated topic for young people. The underlying message: you are never too young to make your voice heard.” —The Horn Book