Just be cool, Jenna Sakai

Debbi Michiko Florence

Book - 2021

When boyfriend Elliott breaks up with Jenna Sakai before Christmas break, she just about convinces herself that relationships are for suckers and she is better off without them; but unfortunately she finds herself in competition with Elliott for a journalism scholarship, and worse her first assignment for the newspaper club is to write a personal essay, which is difficult when you are someone who prefers to keep your emotions bottled up--and than there is Rin Watanabe, a boy as stubborn as Jenna... herself, and a mystery that Jenna cannot help but investigate.

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Romance fiction
Young adult fiction
New York : Scholastic Inc 2021.
First edition
Physical Description
291 pages ; 20 cm
Ages 8-12.
Grades 4-6.
Main Author
Debbi Michiko Florence (author)
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Jenna Sakai, seventh grade superstar journalist in the making, tackles the story of her life. Japanese American Jenna from Keep It Together, Keiko Carter (2020) is having quite the school year. Her parents are still adjusting after a nasty divorce, and her boyfriend and fellow student journalist Elliot Oxford has broken up with her. Nursing a bruised, but not broken, heart on multiple fronts, she becomes more resolved than ever to protect herself and focus on her goals as a hard-hitting investigative reporter. This is not without challenges in the form of having to write a personal essay for newspaper club and scoping out a stellar story for a journalism scholarship competition, all while trying to reconnect with her friend Keiko. Jenna finds some solace in hanging out in a Broadway-themed diner, but when the mysterious and artistic Rin Watanabe encroaches on her preferred Hamilton booth, she has to determine if his presence is annoying or--possibly worse--welcome. Jenna faces even more surprises as her scholarship article forces her to reexamine her own emotional journey and biases. Florence offers a tightly written narrative that is as fearless as it is balanced, diving into complicated feelings of distrust and isolation while still offering glimmers of friendship and hope. Jenna's honest voice shines with clarity, portraying a flawed but relatable protagonist whom readers will root for. This entertaining read is as complex as it is delightful. (Fiction. 9-12) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.