Shayla's Double Brown Baby Blues

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9780689856709: Shayla's Double Brown Baby Blues
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Things are changing for thirteen-year-old Shayla Dubois, no matter how hard she tries to fight it. Her father and his new wife have a baby girl named Gift -- born on Shayla's own birthday. Gift has Shayla's special eyes (the eyes of a writer), her father's last name, and the love that should have been Shayla's. But jealousy is the least of Shayla's problems. Someone's been sending her best friend, Kambia Elaine, cruel packages that remind Kambia of her traumatic past. There is also Shayla's new friend Lemm who makes her skin tingle in the weirdest way. He's handsome, smart, smooth talking, and has demons of his own to hide. But in order to help her friends, Shayla must first learn how to help herself.

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Thirteen-year-old Shayla has never thought much of her estranged father, the silver-tongued Mr. Anderson Fox. And she thinks even less of the new baby girl he has fathered named Gift ("I don't think that she's a present.") Jealous and angry that "once again Mr. Anderson Fox has tracked sadness into our house on the sole of his shiny leather shoe," Shayla tries to take her mind off her baby blues by spending more time with her best friend Kambia Elaine and flirting with Lemm, the cute new boy in the 'hood. But she soon discovers that each of them are nursing their own troubles. Kambia is receiving awful anonymous reminders of her former abusive home that cause her mind to "run away from her like folks do from Casper the Friendly Ghost," and Lemm is struggling with a terrible family secret that he tries to cover up with alcohol and fast talk. As she strives to help them both, Shayla painfully learns that friendship has its limits and that the maturity she longs for comes with a price. Lori Aurelia Williams has more tightly focused this sophomore follow-up to her critically acclaimed, yet somewhat rambling first novel, When Kambia Elaine Flew In from Neptune. With Shayla's Double Brown Baby Blues, Williams sticks closer to the plot, while continuing to write Shayla's first-person voice in the signature lyrical style that made Kambia Elaine so unforgettable. To borrow a quote from the vivid wordsmith Williams herself, this poignant sequel is like "thinking you had eaten the last cherry Jolly Rancher out of the bag and then opening it and finding two more." (Ages 12 to 18) --Jennifer Hubert

About the Author:

Lori Aurelia Williams is the author of When Kambia Elaine Flew In from Neptune and Shayla's Double Brown Baby Blues. She holds a master's degree in English from the University of Texas at Austin, where she was awarded both a James A. Michener Fellowship and a scholarship in creative writing. Born in Houston, Lori Aurelia Williams lives in Austin.

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