Just be cool, Jenna Sakai

  • 2 min read

By Debbi Michiko Florence

Book Source: ARC provided for review purposes

Book Status: Comes out in August 2020

I was going to wait to review this book because it doesn’t come out till August, but I really enjoyed this book and didn’t want to wait. This is a sequel-ish book to Keiko Carter. It comes after her story but is told from Jenna point of view. Keiko and Jenna are best friends but also have very different things going on in their lives. Jenna’s parents are divorced and not in a friendly way. This is a big factor in her story. Another factor is her recent breakup with Elliot which also makes her believe all relationships are bad. But all of that brings her to the diner where she sits alone in the Hamilton booth. One day, someone joins her who is equally interested in the big corner booth. All of this leads on to a discovery about herself and that relationships maybe aren’t all awful.

This book is very middle grade with themes that could harder for younger readers. It has your traditional themes of relationships, friendships, middle school drama wrapped in the point of view of a character with a heritage we don’t usually see as the main character. It is important that main characters are representative of the backgrounds people come from. All kids are the main characters of their lives, why not also their books?

This is a book that should be read with other people and along side Keiko Carter. This allows for a discussion of the themes throughout both stories, the different point of views of friends and maybe deeper discussions about what is going on in your own life.

I really recommend this book to middle graders.

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