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The Science of Being Angry

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Eleven-year-old Joey is angry. All the time. And she doesn’t understand why. She has two loving moms, a supportive older half brother, and, as a triplet, she’s never without company. Her life is good. But sometimes she loses her temper and lashes out, like the time she threw a soccer ball—hard—at a boy in gym class and bruised his collarbone. Or when jealousy made her push Eleven-year-old Joey is angry. All the time. And she doesn’t understand why. She has two loving moms, a supportive older half brother, and, as a triplet, she’s never without company. Her life is good. But sometimes she loses her temper and lashes out, like the time she threw a soccer ball—hard—at a boy in gym class and bruised his collarbone. Or when jealousy made her push her (former) best friend (and crush), Layla, a little bit too roughly. After a meltdown at Joey’s apartment building leads to her family’s eviction, Joey is desperate to figure out why she’s so mad. A new unit in science class makes her wonder if the reason is genetics. Does she lose control because of something she inherited from the donor her mothers chose?


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Eleven-year-old Joey is angry. All the time. And she doesn’t understand why. She has two loving moms, a supportive older half brother, and, as a triplet, she’s never without company. Her life is good. But sometimes she loses her temper and lashes out, like the time she threw a soccer ball—hard—at a boy in gym class and bruised his collarbone. Or when jealousy made her push Eleven-year-old Joey is angry. All the time. And she doesn’t understand why. She has two loving moms, a supportive older half brother, and, as a triplet, she’s never without company. Her life is good. But sometimes she loses her temper and lashes out, like the time she threw a soccer ball—hard—at a boy in gym class and bruised his collarbone. Or when jealousy made her push her (former) best friend (and crush), Layla, a little bit too roughly. After a meltdown at Joey’s apartment building leads to her family’s eviction, Joey is desperate to figure out why she’s so mad. A new unit in science class makes her wonder if the reason is genetics. Does she lose control because of something she inherited from the donor her mothers chose?

30 review for The Science of Being Angry

  1. 4 out of 5

    Shae

    Literal tears on my face. Not in my eyes. On my face. SHE IS SO SMALL AND TRYING SO HARD. And her adults love her so much and are also trying their best but sometimes they make things worse by accident and howwww can you have the words to explain these really scary SUPER-BIG feelings when you're ELEVEN and teeny tiny and feel like everything is your fault and NO ONE understands you--?! I need to lie down. Literal tears on my face. Not in my eyes. On my face. SHE IS SO SMALL AND TRYING SO HARD. And her adults love her so much and are also trying their best but sometimes they make things worse by accident and howwww can you have the words to explain these really scary SUPER-BIG feelings when you're ELEVEN and teeny tiny and feel like everything is your fault and NO ONE understands you--?! I need to lie down.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nev

    This was phenomenal. Nicole Melleby really knows how to craft a queer Middle Grade story. I loved how complicated everything was in the book. The exploration of Joey’s anger management issues and how her moms don’t always have the right answers made for a very compelling read. There were so many moments in the story that pulled on my heartstrings. I can’t wait to read whatever Nicole Melleby writes next.

  3. 4 out of 5

    anna (½ of readsrainbow)

    rep: sapphic mc with anger management issues, sapphic li, lesbian parents, side character with ADHD tw: blood, bullying, panic attacks rtc

  4. 5 out of 5

    Eva B.

    As someone who's always struggled with anger issues but never saw them reflected in books growing up...yes please! As someone who's always struggled with anger issues but never saw them reflected in books growing up...yes please!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    ARC provided by Young Adult Books Central Joey is a triplet who lives with her brothers Colton and Thomas, two moms, and older half brother Benny in an apartment. When she and her two brothers go out at night to swim in the complex pool when they are not supposed to, Joey punches the security guard who tries to talk to them. Since this isn't the first issue, the family is evicted and end up in a hotel. Benny goes to stay with his father, who is the gym teacher at the children's charter school. Jo ARC provided by Young Adult Books Central Joey is a triplet who lives with her brothers Colton and Thomas, two moms, and older half brother Benny in an apartment. When she and her two brothers go out at night to swim in the complex pool when they are not supposed to, Joey punches the security guard who tries to talk to them. Since this isn't the first issue, the family is evicted and end up in a hotel. Benny goes to stay with his father, who is the gym teacher at the children's charter school. Joey has long had anger issues, and the breathing exercises her moms recommend don't really work. She is alienated from her friends, especially Layla, so is glad when she is asked to join a hockey team. When her class starts on a DNA and genetics unit in science, this is an additional source of tension for Layla, since her father was a sperm donor, and she has only basic information about him. Wondering if her anger issues might be genetic, she wants to try to find out more, and enlists Layla to help, since her former friend is very interested in geneaology. The two manage to submit DNA to 23 and Me, and are anxiously awaiting results. Joey starts to have trouble on the hockey team with Eli, who calls her "Bruiser" and agressively "fools around", shoving her all in the name of "fun". Joey's instances of aggression start to escalate, and her moms talk about putting her into therapy. She also struggles with her relationship with Layla as the two reconnect, and she doesn't want to tell her friend what is really bothering her. Will Joey be able to find out more about the causes of her anger, her family genetics, and the real nature of her feelings for Layla? Like Gerber's Focused, Pages' Button Pusher, or Carter's Fifty-Four Things Wrong with Gwendolyn Rogers this is an interesting look at a tween who is struggling with understanding and dealing with her neurological differences. This is something we are seeing more and more with young people, as mental health issues have been exacerbated during the pandemic. Joey's moms are very supportive, and don't make Joey feel bad about her actions, but do try to help her deal with situations, and dole out reasonable punishments when needed. They are a bit slow to get her help, but do think about it and eventually take her to family and individual therapy. I was more interested in the dive into genetics, and the debate over nature versus nuture introduced in Joey's science class. It was also good to see that the school mentions that the genetics project is meant to be inclusive of a variety of families; assigning family trees is rarely a good idea in middle school anymore, since familes are much more richly textured than they have been in the past. Joey takes a look at how her Mom, to whom she is genetically related, looks and acts, but also tries to understand how Mama, who is not genetically related, has informed her personality as well. There are not too many books that include information on childrenwho were born through in vitro fertilization, other than Robert's Nikki on the Line, so it is good to see this kind of representation in middle grade literature. This also felt reminscent of Smith's Code Name Serendipity, but with a more middle school feel, thanks to the inclusion of hockey and a budding romance. My readers will be interested in the friend drama between Joey and Layla, as well as the fact that there is more to Joey's feelings than friendship. I don't want to describe too much of this and ruin some nice twists and turns in the plot, but fans of this author's Hurricane Season, Ashley Herring Blake, and Barbara Dee will enjoy the inclusion of the LGBTQIA+ themes.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I received an advance copy from Algonquin Young Readers via Netgalley for review purposes. This in no way influences my review; all words, thoughts, and opinions are my own Content notes: (view spoiler)[Injury, Blood, fear of abandonment, police involvement, destruction of property, bullying (hide spoiler)] Once again Melleby has taken my heart, torn it to pieces, and mended it with such care. As a person who spent much of their childhood full of anger, this book spoke to me so much, and I cannot I received an advance copy from Algonquin Young Readers via Netgalley for review purposes. This in no way influences my review; all words, thoughts, and opinions are my own Content notes: (view spoiler)[Injury, Blood, fear of abandonment, police involvement, destruction of property, bullying (hide spoiler)] Once again Melleby has taken my heart, torn it to pieces, and mended it with such care. As a person who spent much of their childhood full of anger, this book spoke to me so much, and I cannot wait for others to read Joey’s story and fall in love. Full review closer to release. Full review: I do not know how to put into words how much this book means, but it hits me so hard in the feelings. I’ve been obsessed with Melleby’s books since I read In the Role of Brie Hutchens… and every time I fall more in love with her stories and characters. The Science of Being Angry is no different, and especially hits me as a child who struggled with anger and lashing out when the feelings got bigger than could be contained. Joey is such a relatable character on that front, even as her experiences as a triplet, as the daughter of two moms, as a product of in vitro fertilization don’t line up with my own experiences. I love Joey’s journey of figuring herself out, or at least working towards new understanding of herself, the complexities of her interpersonal relationships, with her triplets, with her moms, with her best friend/crush Layla, with her brother Benny, and seeing her working on those relationships. Joey often feels wrong and knows she’s been mean, and often feels like she just gets angrier and angrier, but at the end of the day, hurting those she loves is the very last thing she wants to do. And seeing a preteen navigating those feelings, struggling with words and self-expression, hits me so hard. And I also love and appreciate that there isn’t an answer in the end for why Joey is so angry all the time, just the hope and promise of working on that anger and learning new coping strategies so she can handle the anger in a healthier way. I adored this book, am so glad it exists, and cannot wait to see what Melleby will write next. I love how much this book made me cry, and also how much healing and hope it offers in putting in the work to change harmful behaviors and the reassurances of the love of Joey’s family. Learning that her mom will never leave her, even if they don’t share DNA, and navigating who she is without knowing where half her DNA comes from is such a powerful, emotional story. I hope it finds many readers who are also able to feel seen and loved and like being angry doesn’t make them a monster or needlessly cruel, even (or especially) when that anger so often feels out of control until the pressure is released.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Candice Hale

    Nicole Melleby’s new book 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙎𝙘𝙞𝙚𝙣𝙘𝙚 𝙤𝙛 𝘽𝙚𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝘼𝙣𝙜𝙧𝙮 breaks through the emotional lives of tweens while acknowledging the struggle of how families deal with mental health, love, and biology. Eleven-year-old Joey is terribly angry but doesn’t know why she has a quick temper, lashes out at her brothers, or random people at school. She is reminded: “Mom says I have a good life. I have no right to be this angry.” Yet, that doesn’t stop the outbursts or problems she’s causing the family. Because Joey Nicole Melleby’s new book 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙎𝙘𝙞𝙚𝙣𝙘𝙚 𝙤𝙛 𝘽𝙚𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝘼𝙣𝙜𝙧𝙮 breaks through the emotional lives of tweens while acknowledging the struggle of how families deal with mental health, love, and biology. Eleven-year-old Joey is terribly angry but doesn’t know why she has a quick temper, lashes out at her brothers, or random people at school. She is reminded: “Mom says I have a good life. I have no right to be this angry.” Yet, that doesn’t stop the outbursts or problems she’s causing the family. Because Joey is a triplet and born by in-vitro fertilization, she is wondering if she genetically “inherited” this anger from her donor. Last summer, I had the pleasure of reading my first Melleby book, 𝙃𝙤𝙬 𝙩𝙤 𝘽𝙚𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙚 𝙖 𝙋𝙡𝙖𝙣𝙚𝙩, so I appreciate how she writes novels that represent diverse characters. For example, here, in this book, there is a sapphic main character with anger management issues, a sapphic love interest, lesbian parents, and her oldest brother has ADHD. Melleby’s work is great in that it touches on tough topics that books in my youth failed to even exist. Please keep making these novels. There were only a few minor issues with the book. The entire family seemed to ignore Joey and her anger issues. They continued to dismiss her as just a bad sister or the mean girl. Her brothers failed to even protect her when she was bullied. It made me so sad for her. She was so alone. I became angry and wanted to scream for her. As the therapist explains: “Your parents have a responsibility to make sure that you don’t hurt yourself or others.” In addition, there is no clear resolution at the end. I like neat endings. I want Joey to be happy. As a child/tween that suffered with anger issues, I didn’t fully get my diagnosis either. I could tell you now that it stemmed from my DV household. I controlled my anger in public places. As I grew older, it only worsened. I did hurt myself, but never others. My point is that once you see issues like these in your children—then please seek professional help. Therapy saves lives. Overall, I enjoyed this one.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Susan Ballard

    Eleven-year-old Joey tends to get angry a lot. Joey is a triplet. It’s her and her two brothers, Colton and Thomas. They were born by in vitro fertilization to their mama. They have both their mama and their mom as their family, oh and their half-brother Benny too. But Joey feels like something is off. She can’t understand why she’s so mean to Thomas, why she wants to hit and scream and why she’s pushing her best friend Layla away. She doesn’t feel like she’s the same as her brothers. When her sc Eleven-year-old Joey tends to get angry a lot. Joey is a triplet. It’s her and her two brothers, Colton and Thomas. They were born by in vitro fertilization to their mama. They have both their mama and their mom as their family, oh and their half-brother Benny too. But Joey feels like something is off. She can’t understand why she’s so mean to Thomas, why she wants to hit and scream and why she’s pushing her best friend Layla away. She doesn’t feel like she’s the same as her brothers. When her science class begins a project on DNA and genetics, Joey can’t help but wonder about the other half of her, of who the donor was, and maybe that’s why she is the way she is. But as she begins to dig into it, she discovers that the love surrounding her plays a much more significant part in who she is today. 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐒𝐜𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐁𝐞𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐀𝐧𝐠𝐫𝐲 covers a lot of ground: family dynamics, a child’s blossoming identity, possible mental health issues, bullying, and the question of nature vs. nurture. But what I loved about this story is that as Joey tries to navigate her feelings of confusion and anger, she is loved. Her moms, brothers, and friends care for her and make sure she is heard. I think this book will be a conversation starter for many kids out there. Thank you, @algonquinyr for a spot on tour and a gifted copy.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    This YA packed a lot into. It’s focus is around a 12 year who is angry all the time. This 12 year old lives with 2 moms, is a triplet with identical brothers and is part of a blended family. She has a lot going on and this is an age when kids start wondering who they are. It was written extremely well and will touch a lot of the age range it is intended for. Thanks to NetGalley for a digital copy fir an honest review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alex (Pucksandpaperbacks)

    CW: bullying, blood, injury, mention of pregnancy and childbirth, anxiety and anger, mention of hospital visit Thank you to Algonquin Young Readers for sending me a copy of this book to review. All thoughts are my own! This was a solid middle grade about mental health following an 11-year old girl, Joey as she tries to learn about the pent up anger she's releasing causing everyone in her life to view her differently. At least, that's what she thinks in her head. To Joey, she's not like her bro CW: bullying, blood, injury, mention of pregnancy and childbirth, anxiety and anger, mention of hospital visit Thank you to Algonquin Young Readers for sending me a copy of this book to review. All thoughts are my own! This was a solid middle grade about mental health following an 11-year old girl, Joey as she tries to learn about the pent up anger she's releasing causing everyone in her life to view her differently. At least, that's what she thinks in her head. To Joey, she's not like her brothers or Mom's because they don't hurt people and lash out causing hurt toward them. Thus, Joey is going to make things right by finding the donor her mother's used to get pregnant. When a project arises in school on genetics, Joey takes this as the perfect opportunity to learn about her genetics. What I loved most about The Science of Being Angry is how Joey reacts to her outbursts being viewed by her family and friends. This shows how there are consequences to your actions and you can learn how to control them which Joey starts to learn as she hurts the feelings of those around her. As someone who also deals with anger issues, I loved seeing Joey's character because I haven't read a book about mental health and/or neurodivergence where anger is at the forefront. It's such an important symptom to touch on especially with a child. Toward the end of the book, therapy comes in and I really enjoyed how the story doesn't give Joey a definitive diagnosis as it shows how it takes time to find the answers. There is a side character, Joey's half-brother, Benny who has ADHD and plays hockey to help manage it. Benny encourages Joey to sign up for hockey to help get her aggression out and I loooved that so much. As a hockey fan, hockey is the best way for me to get my anger out. Overall, I highly recommend this sapphic book about genetics and family dynamics.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan (Jon)

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 𝙁𝙧𝙤𝙢 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙖𝙘𝙘𝙡𝙖𝙞𝙢𝙚𝙙 𝙖𝙪𝙩𝙝𝙤𝙧 𝙤𝙛 𝙃𝙪𝙧𝙧𝙞𝙘𝙖𝙣𝙚 𝙎𝙚𝙖𝙨𝙤𝙣, 𝙖𝙣 𝙪𝙣𝙛𝙤𝙧𝙜𝙚𝙩𝙩𝙖𝙗𝙡𝙚 𝙨𝙩𝙤𝙧𝙮 𝙖𝙗𝙤𝙪𝙩 𝙬𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙢𝙖𝙠𝙚𝙨 𝙖 𝙛𝙖𝙢𝙞𝙡𝙮, 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙛𝙖𝙣𝙨 𝙤𝙛 𝙃𝙖𝙯𝙚𝙡’𝙨 𝙏𝙝𝙚𝙤𝙧𝙮 𝙤𝙛 𝙀𝙫𝙤𝙡𝙪𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙄𝙫𝙮 𝘼𝙗𝙚𝙧𝙙𝙚𝙚𝙣’𝙨 𝙇𝙚𝙩𝙩𝙚𝙧 𝙩𝙤 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙒𝙤𝙧𝙡𝙙. 🎉 HAPPY PUB DAY + BOOK TOUR STOP🎉 This was a very fun and touching Middle-Grade contemporary read. I read How To Become A Planet last year and I loved it so as soon as I was asked to do a book tour for this one, I knew immediately I wanted to read this. I don’t tend to read a lot of middle grade, but I have really ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 𝙁𝙧𝙤𝙢 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙖𝙘𝙘𝙡𝙖𝙞𝙢𝙚𝙙 𝙖𝙪𝙩𝙝𝙤𝙧 𝙤𝙛 𝙃𝙪𝙧𝙧𝙞𝙘𝙖𝙣𝙚 𝙎𝙚𝙖𝙨𝙤𝙣, 𝙖𝙣 𝙪𝙣𝙛𝙤𝙧𝙜𝙚𝙩𝙩𝙖𝙗𝙡𝙚 𝙨𝙩𝙤𝙧𝙮 𝙖𝙗𝙤𝙪𝙩 𝙬𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙢𝙖𝙠𝙚𝙨 𝙖 𝙛𝙖𝙢𝙞𝙡𝙮, 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙛𝙖𝙣𝙨 𝙤𝙛 𝙃𝙖𝙯𝙚𝙡’𝙨 𝙏𝙝𝙚𝙤𝙧𝙮 𝙤𝙛 𝙀𝙫𝙤𝙡𝙪𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙄𝙫𝙮 𝘼𝙗𝙚𝙧𝙙𝙚𝙚𝙣’𝙨 𝙇𝙚𝙩𝙩𝙚𝙧 𝙩𝙤 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙒𝙤𝙧𝙡𝙙. 🎉 HAPPY PUB DAY + BOOK TOUR STOP🎉 This was a very fun and touching Middle-Grade contemporary read. I read How To Become A Planet last year and I loved it so as soon as I was asked to do a book tour for this one, I knew immediately I wanted to read this. I don’t tend to read a lot of middle grade, but I have really enjoyed what this author has been writing. These characters are so raw and authentic, you just want the absolute best for them. In this one we follow Joey, who gets angry all the time, she feels something is off. She doesn’t understand why she’s so mean to her brother, pushes her best friend Layla away, nor why she always wants to scream and hit. This book is very touching and emotional at times. No matter what Joey does, everyone seems to love her and that’s just so sweet and heartwarming. I love how wholesome these side characters were, these two moms were written so well and it just felt so real. Mental Health is such a sensitive topic to talk about and even read about. In this story, our MC doesn’t know what’s wrong or how to get help. There are some very real discussions here. I also loved the genetic aspect in this story and the nature vs nurture part. Overall, this was a very emotional MG read. It was so touching and these characters were beautifully written. Incredible! Huge thank you to the publisher for asking me to be a part of this tour. Moderate TWs: Bullying and Mental Illness ✨Thank you Algonquin Young Readets for sending me a copy of The Science of Being Angry along with How To Become A Planet for this tour✨

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    Joey is always angry, and her anger makes her act out in erratic ways, including yelling, hitting, and throwing things. Joey is only eleven, and her behavior is scaring her family, friends, and teachers. She doesn’t want to hurt anyone, but it’s like her body acts before she has a chance to stop it. Her siblings aren’t like this, and neither are her moms. Maybe, Joey thinks, she could figure out what makes her so angry if she could find out who her biological father is - someone chosen by her mo Joey is always angry, and her anger makes her act out in erratic ways, including yelling, hitting, and throwing things. Joey is only eleven, and her behavior is scaring her family, friends, and teachers. She doesn’t want to hurt anyone, but it’s like her body acts before she has a chance to stop it. Her siblings aren’t like this, and neither are her moms. Maybe, Joey thinks, she could figure out what makes her so angry if she could find out who her biological father is - someone chosen by her moms to be a donor but who she knows nothing about. If he’s angry all the time, maybe she can finally know what’s wrong with her. This book was absolutely heartbreaking while also being hopeful. Joey desperately wants to stop being angry all the time, and she is aware that it is affecting the way the people around her view her. Her peers view her as a bully and don’t want to be friends with her. She’s heard her parents talk about being scared of her and she’s convinced it’s her fault that her older brother has decided to live with his dad. Ultimately, she’s sure, everyone will decide to leave her if she can’t fix what’s wrong with her. Joey clearly isn’t getting the support she needs; even though her moms love her and are trying to help the best they can, they just don’t know what to do. I really appreciated how the author showed the difference between Joey and Eli, the boy who bullies her. Joey is seen as a bully because of the way she acts, but the reader knows that she isn’t intentionally cruel. When someone starts bullying her, Joey feels like she can’t say anything - after all, hasn’t she done the same thing? Eli’s actions feel different than Joey’s - he is shown to be planning ways to humiliate and hurt her and appears to take joy in it. Of course, we can’t get into Eli’s mind, and there may be something complex happening that the reader can’t see. But it’s a clear difference between Joey, who tries to remove herself from situations to avoid causing harm and who we see feel remorse after doing something “wrong,” and Eli, who laughs about it and continues to go after her. There are some blurry lines here - life isn’t clean, and some of Joey’s actions are wrong - but the differences are still evident. I also appreciated that the book and characters were clear in saying that what Eli is doing is bullying, and just because Joey has caused harm in the past doesn’t mean that she deserves what he’s doing or can’t speak out about it. This book reminded me a lot of Fifty-Four Things Wrong with Gwendolyn Rogers, another book about a girl trying to figure out why she can’t stop herself from acting out and making “bad” choices, and which I also found really moving. Anyone who liked Fifty-Four Things would probably appreciate The Science of Being Angry as well, and vice versa; they were similar in a lot of ways but different enough to absolutely be unique stories which are both worth the time to read. I think kids would benefit a lot from reading this book whether they have experienced some of what Joey is going through or not; inevitably, they’ll at some point interact with a peer who acts in ways they don’t understand, and this may help. Parents, especially those with children who have difficulty managing their anger, may also find something helpful in this story. [light spoilers] This might not be the book for someone who likes everything to wrap up nicely. A lot is left open or unanswered, and it can be a little messy at times. I personally thought that worked really well in this case and it felt intentional, but I could see why someone might dislike that or think it wasn’t cleanly written. Overall, I think this book is excellent and will speak to a lot of readers. It was well written and I couldn’t put it down, and I think a lot of kids will feel the same way. Thanks to NetGalley and Algonquin for the eARC.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Celia

    I was told this book would make me ugly cry and boy oh boy, they were not lying. The author walks us through the emotional life of Joey as well as her siblings and the struggle of her mothers and friends. Joey is angry all the time and she doesn't know why. She doesn't understand why her body grows tight and that she needs to scream and act out. When a school project introduces her to 23andMe, she thinks finding her donor will explain why she is the way she is. She wonders if her anger is inheri I was told this book would make me ugly cry and boy oh boy, they were not lying. The author walks us through the emotional life of Joey as well as her siblings and the struggle of her mothers and friends. Joey is angry all the time and she doesn't know why. She doesn't understand why her body grows tight and that she needs to scream and act out. When a school project introduces her to 23andMe, she thinks finding her donor will explain why she is the way she is. She wonders if her anger is inherited. This book is great because it touches upon subjects that don't get enough attention. We have a sapphic twelve-year-old with anger issues who wants desperately to ease the struggles of those around her because of her actions. She's self-aware of her anger and may also like a girl in her grade. Her parents are a lesbian couple and her half-brother has ADHD. This book covers a lot of ground, but we need to keep making novels like this. They are so, so important. I enjoyed both Joey's journey and her mother's journey in finally identifying and understanding their daughter's possible mental illness. As parents, sometimes we don't have the education or even the time and sense to really see what's going on behind the curtain. My son is only seven, but I've had to step back during some of his outbursts in the past or silences and try to identify hat the root cause. As someone with anxiety and introversion, I do have a slight understanding, but I am always learning. Thank you to Algonquin for the review copy.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sarah {The Clever Reader}

    Joey is always angry. It isn’t until she’s presented with a school project about genetics that she starts to wonder if her anger comes from the person she got half her genes from. Joey isn’t just navigating her emotions related to her anger but also her identity and who she is. I like how much this story addresses mental health. Joey has the biggest support group but it doesn’t mean she doesn’t still struggle. Struggling with mental health is difficult for an adult let alone a child and I felt li Joey is always angry. It isn’t until she’s presented with a school project about genetics that she starts to wonder if her anger comes from the person she got half her genes from. Joey isn’t just navigating her emotions related to her anger but also her identity and who she is. I like how much this story addresses mental health. Joey has the biggest support group but it doesn’t mean she doesn’t still struggle. Struggling with mental health is difficult for an adult let alone a child and I felt like Melleby did a wonderful job of portraying Joey’s struggles. You could feel how much Joey just wants to understand why she’s different. She’s not only trying to understand that but also her feelings towards her best friend Layla who she’s realized she likes as more than friends. I’ve read all of Melleby’s middle grade novels and she’s definitely become my favorite. This one did not disappoint. Melleby writes beautiful stories of young people who have real and valid struggles. I will continue to pick up her books as long as she keeps writing them! P.S. I pre-ordered the audio and listened to it. It is fantastic and I highly recommend it!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sue (BeautyBookCorner)

    I always say I don’t cry when I read books. I might tear up or shed 1-2 tears but that’s it. Well, that was most definitely NOT the case with this book. So many tears. Oh my heart filled with love for Joey. I wanted to pull her into a fierce hug and tell her it’s okay to let it all out and scream as loud as you want. Joey’s circumstances are very different from when I was her age but there were also a lot of similar emotions. Reading this book was honestly a raw experience for me but also cathar I always say I don’t cry when I read books. I might tear up or shed 1-2 tears but that’s it. Well, that was most definitely NOT the case with this book. So many tears. Oh my heart filled with love for Joey. I wanted to pull her into a fierce hug and tell her it’s okay to let it all out and scream as loud as you want. Joey’s circumstances are very different from when I was her age but there were also a lot of similar emotions. Reading this book was honestly a raw experience for me but also cathartic and healing. I so wish I had this when I was young. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a middle grade book about mental health that’s not focused on depression. This is about about identity and family, and processing some big angry emotions. Joey is a character you’ll want to root for and fall in love with. I want a “2 years later” epilogue of her living her best life happy and health. I need to know that she’s thriving!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Laura (crofteereader)

    3.5 stars I know I don't frequently read middle grade (and that alone is probably a very good reason to check out other reader reviews in addition to mine) but How to Become a Planet was one of my favorite books last year, so I was absolutely hype for The Science of Being Angry. Let's talk about the good things first. I love the "unconventional" family: Mama and Mom, the triplets (Mama's IVF), and Benny (child from Mom's first marriage) +/- Benny's dad who they have a good relationship with. Melle 3.5 stars I know I don't frequently read middle grade (and that alone is probably a very good reason to check out other reader reviews in addition to mine) but How to Become a Planet was one of my favorite books last year, so I was absolutely hype for The Science of Being Angry. Let's talk about the good things first. I love the "unconventional" family: Mama and Mom, the triplets (Mama's IVF), and Benny (child from Mom's first marriage) +/- Benny's dad who they have a good relationship with. Melleby has a brilliant way of writing these authentic young characters who make stupid/immature decisions without discounting their agency and intelligence. The moms and how they talk to their kids and support them, even though they're not perfect and don't see everything that's going on... It just felt so real and wholesome. But it also felt... Unresolved. And a little repetitive as Joey goes through several iterations of almost the exact same issue. I think Benny and Thomas could have played a larger role as well. It just felt a little busy having so many characters who aren't directly involved. {Thank you Algonquin for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review; all thoughts are my own}

  17. 5 out of 5

    Madison

    This is a lovely little book that made me weep by the end. I really appreciated the tension here--it feels true to Joey's experience and her moms' characters, as well. This is a lovely little book that made me weep by the end. I really appreciated the tension here--it feels true to Joey's experience and her moms' characters, as well.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Erica

    ahhh as somebody who has to deal with my intense anger my whole life, i'm so grateful this book was written! i could relate to it so much! ahhh as somebody who has to deal with my intense anger my whole life, i'm so grateful this book was written! i could relate to it so much!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Ross

    Eleven-year-old Joey lives in an unusual blended family. For one thing, she had her two twin brothers have two moms, one of whom was married before and has a son from that marriage. She and her brothers were the result of IVF, and the boys are identical, having split from the same egg. For all the nontraditional nature of this family, there’s a lot of love and acceptance. But all is not well with Joey. She’s been having increasingly volatile episodes of anger and acting-out. Her temper has becom Eleven-year-old Joey lives in an unusual blended family. For one thing, she had her two twin brothers have two moms, one of whom was married before and has a son from that marriage. She and her brothers were the result of IVF, and the boys are identical, having split from the same egg. For all the nontraditional nature of this family, there’s a lot of love and acceptance. But all is not well with Joey. She’s been having increasingly volatile episodes of anger and acting-out. Her temper has become legendary at school, where she’s been given the nickname, “Bruiser,” after she threw a soccer ball at a boy in gym class so hard she bruised his collarbone. She’s roughly pushed away her best friend, on whom she also has a crush. Now she’s left with the fallout wreckage of what she’s done. Despite the efforts of her moms to help her, Joey’s outbursts are only getting worse. Finally, she melts down into a tantrum so destructive, her family is evicted from their apartment and must move into a motel, where close quarters fuel everyone’s irritation. Her moms start bickering, and Joey thinks that’s her fault. Her older brother, who is trying to focus on his academics, goes to live with his father, and of course, Joey blames herself for that, too. Joey can’t understand why she flies into a rage or how to control it. All her best intentions are in vain. Then she gets the idea that perhaps her temper is a genetic trait inherited from her biological father. If she can just track him down, she thinks, she might better understand her own volatility—and he might have found successful strategies for managing his anger. With the help of her alienated best friend/crush, she embarks on a genetics project for science class. And, of course, nothing goes the way Joey expects. In many ways, Joey is a typical adolescent, struggling with the tensions between immaturity and independence. In others, though, she is very much her own person with a unique family. I loved the way the unusual marriage and relationships are presented in a matter-of-fact way. Joey’s anger is clearly not caused by her having two lesbian mothers. Indeed, the clear love and understanding between her mothers, the way each of them has found her way to an authentic life, are one of Joey’s principal strengths. I also noted very little along the lines of, “girls don’t have anger management issues,” when in fact psychological research shows that girls experience anger as frequently as boys do (but are socialized to suppress it). What I most loved about this book was the respect with which Joey and her problems were portrayed. Joey is in many ways still a child, and for all her competence in many areas, she has a child’s limited resources for dealing with psychological issues that confound many adults. Her sense of responsibility often leads her to shoulder disproportionate blame, to withdraw rather than harm someone she loves, and to keep her pain to herself. She confronts an issue all of us face, regardless of how old we are: when do we ask for help, and when do we rely upon our own resources? In the end, Joey realizes that she cannot master her temper by herself, and—more importantly—that there is kindness, understanding, and help available to her. Highly recommended for adults as well as their adolescent children.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Paige

    Disclaimer: I received this arc and finished copy from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own. Book: The Science of Being Angry Author: Nicole Melleby Book Series: Standalone Rating: 5/5 Diversity: 2 moms, f/f romances, IVF and anonymous donor MC and siblings, Queer MC Recommended For...: middle grade readers, contemporary, LGBT, mental health, family Publication Date: May 10, 2022 Genre: MG Contemporary Age Relevance: 9+ (violence, slight romance) Explanation of Above: There is some light violenc Disclaimer: I received this arc and finished copy from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own. Book: The Science of Being Angry Author: Nicole Melleby Book Series: Standalone Rating: 5/5 Diversity: 2 moms, f/f romances, IVF and anonymous donor MC and siblings, Queer MC Recommended For...: middle grade readers, contemporary, LGBT, mental health, family Publication Date: May 10, 2022 Genre: MG Contemporary Age Relevance: 9+ (violence, slight romance) Explanation of Above: There is some light violence in this book, with our MC who pushes and shoves people. Sometimes stuff is thrown too. There is also a very slight romance. Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers Pages: 276 Synopsis: Eleven-year-old Joey is angry. All the time. And she doesn’t understand why. She has two loving moms, a supportive older half brother, and, as a triplet, she’s never without company. Her life is good. But sometimes she loses her temper and lashes out, like the time she threw a soccer ball—hard—at a boy in gym class and bruised his collarbone. Or when jealousy made her push her (former) best friend (and crush), Layla, a little bit too roughly. After a meltdown at Joey’s apartment building leads to her family’s eviction, Joey is desperate to figure out why she’s so mad. A new unit in science class makes her wonder if the reason is genetics. Does she lose control because of something she inherited from the donor her mothers chose? Review: I really REALLY loved this book. It was such a good book in showing how sometimes kids are angry because of genetics or things outside of the (very wrong) assumption that “they’re just bad kids”. The MC has good intentions, but sometimes she just gets mad because of things outside of her control. I loved that the root of the anger was discussed at the end and that the whole family apologized to each other for the way they all contributed to the MC’s anger. I especially loved how it showed the family having fights and showing that it was ok to fight or disagree sometimes with each other. The book also did so good in discussing ancestry and genetics, but also discussed how “non-traditional” families in several different forms. The explanation of IVF and the anonymous donor was very well done and very well explained for children to understand the basic concept. The book also did well to show how well this family in the book works, which sets the example for how families do and can look like. I also thought the romance was so sweet and adorable. The character development was well done, the world building was well done, the writing was amazing, and the book just draws you in and refuses to let you go. I highly suggest tissues when you read this. The only issue I had with the book is that I wish the diagnosis was shared to the audience, but I did love that many different things were thrown out there and several coping mechanisms discussed so other kids who are also dealing with this could see their own mental health journey in this book. Verdict: Highly recommend!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Libriamo3116

    Joey is mad again. This time, it got her family thrown out of their home. It isn't the first time her rage has gotten the best of her. She pushed her best friend and hurt her, a moment she regrets. She hurt a boy in gym class in a moment of anger. Joey is only eleven years old, and anger seems to be a defining trait of hers. Her life at home is good, and her family loves her. Joey is at a loss to explain why she lashes out without control, so when a discussion of nature versus nurture arises in Joey is mad again. This time, it got her family thrown out of their home. It isn't the first time her rage has gotten the best of her. She pushed her best friend and hurt her, a moment she regrets. She hurt a boy in gym class in a moment of anger. Joey is only eleven years old, and anger seems to be a defining trait of hers. Her life at home is good, and her family loves her. Joey is at a loss to explain why she lashes out without control, so when a discussion of nature versus nurture arises in science class, Joey wonders if genetics may play a role. Joey doesn't know her biological father, so to learn more about herself and her rage, she decides to gather more information about her genes to unravel the mystery of who she really is, but even that may not be the full story of Joey. Growing up is a hard thing. As children begin to approach the teenage years, they begin to see parts of themselves they may not like. Sometimes, that aspect is behavioral, like with Joey. She knows what she is doing is wrong, but she lashes out anyway. She tries to find explanations within herself and also from external factors such as her genes, but that can only go so far. I liked the contrast between aspects of her family life (nurture), and her genes (nature), and how those intersected to establish who Joey is and the differences between her and her siblings. Sometimes fear manifests as anger, and while Joey's home life is good, there are changes taking place at home that don't help Joey feel entirely at ease, and her rage is self-reinforcing, as she feels down on herself for her bad behavior after the fact. I liked that there was nuance in Joey's journey to discover more about herself, with her home life, her friendship with Layla, and interactions with classmates. The story doesn't wrap up entirely neatly, but then Joey's life isn't a neat package that even she fully understands, so I can understand the ambiguity. The Science of Being Angry is one eleven year old trying to make sense of her rage and how it hurts others and herself, and why it's so hard for her to give peace a chance. Recommended for readers who appreciate coming-of-age stories, stories about self-improvement, flawed characters who want to be better, and stories that ask questions about human nature, and why we behave the way we do, even if sometimes it's destructive. Thank you Algonquin Young Readers for the complimentary copy of The Science of Being Angry. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Claire Olivia

    An emotional story about figuring out who you are and navigating the confusing relationships of family. As is my experience with Melleby's books, the characters are what really shine. I love how the parents are actually people instead of just cardboard cutouts who disappear for the sake of the plot. In fact, I've never seen two moms written so well before, ever, and certainly never for middle grade. They are both so loving of each other and their kids, and it's a joy to read. This book is about s An emotional story about figuring out who you are and navigating the confusing relationships of family. As is my experience with Melleby's books, the characters are what really shine. I love how the parents are actually people instead of just cardboard cutouts who disappear for the sake of the plot. In fact, I've never seen two moms written so well before, ever, and certainly never for middle grade. They are both so loving of each other and their kids, and it's a joy to read. This book is about struggling with mental health but not knowing what's wrong or how to get help. So it can be frustrating at times, but that's because you're feeling what the characters are feeling, which is frustration from not knowing how to help their daughter. Mom is more resistant to therapy than Mama, which is realistic, because some people are just skeptical of psychology for no good reason (or no reason at all). We get to see Mom, Mama, and Joey work through that. Joey has a hard time maintaining friendships and she suffers from that throughout the story. She's also experiencing more-than-friendship feelings for her former friend Layla, to further complicate an already difficult relationship. She doesn't always get along with her fellow triplet brothers. Her older half-brother Benny is also pulling away from the family and that makes her sad. There are some unique family dynamics here, but the feelings are universal - the difficulties of growing up, growing apart, and defining who you are. And then add a lesson in genetics and nature vs. nurture to the table, and you have everything necessary for an emotional breakdown. Joey is just trying her hardest, and while she makes a lot of mistakes, you just want to give her a hug. There are no easy answers at the end of the book. While this leaves me wanting more, it's also realistic and I applaud the author for that. Parents will want to be ready for questions about IVF and sperm donors after their kids read this, or maybe have a conversation about it before because it's a big part of the plot. It's a great way to introduce the idea that not all families come from the same place, and while not all families are related genetically that's not what makes a family. Thank you to Algonquin Young Readers for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    Super inclusive middle grade book that discusses a host of topics that are so important in this day and age. Joey is 1/3 of triplets born to two moms through in-vitro fertilization. Like, let’s stop there and reflect on how important it is to see representation in our families! So many books shy away from this type of family dynamic, but it is real and children need to see families represented in all possible ways as well. The MC, Joey, is having issues with anger, and is trying to figure out, n Super inclusive middle grade book that discusses a host of topics that are so important in this day and age. Joey is 1/3 of triplets born to two moms through in-vitro fertilization. Like, let’s stop there and reflect on how important it is to see representation in our families! So many books shy away from this type of family dynamic, but it is real and children need to see families represented in all possible ways as well. The MC, Joey, is having issues with anger, and is trying to figure out, not only her emotions, but her budding romance with a used-to-be close friend, her identity with her gender/sexuality, and how her genetics is playing a role in how she feels because she isn’t sure how all this “stuff” works or makes sense to her. Her moms, are really trying their best to help Joey figure things out, but sometimes parents can project things onto kids in ways that makes the child feel insecure, uncertain, apprehensive, etc. However, the moms are going the extra step to help Joey, and they find a therapist to step in and help navigate their family’s issues before it gets out of control. Through all this, Joey and her two brothers, Colton and Thomas, are 11 years old and are just being kids. They are joining the hockey team, they are dealing with bullies, they are navigating friendships, and just being siblings to each other in the only way they know how. Also, Benny, the oldest brother, is also apart of this family dynamic, and it is interesting to see how the entire family interacts when there are so many moving parts in their blended family. I really enjoyed their science teacher who gave the Nature vs Nurture assignment, as it took the focus off of traditional families and made it about genetics, and how they play in our lives. The assignment was truly inclusive and no one felt singled out or alone when discussing genes, as we all have them. Kudos to the science teacher! I also love the aspect of how the moms were realistic in their emotions and how they approached this difficult time for Joey who is truly trying to figure out who she is and how she’s made up. As parents we don’t always have all the right answers, and I’m glad the parents were able to seek counseling for them all to get to the root of the problem. It is so important to be open and honest in these types of conversations when our children are coming of age because it helps them understand how they tick, how they function, where it comes from, and what to do when they hit a snag. I love how the author is always so inclusive and gets down to the level of these middle graders in sharing these types of stories. It’s empowering! Definitely a must read for any middle grader! 4 stars.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sirah

    Joey has always been impulsive, but when a bad idea and an unthinking reaction get her family kicked out of their apartment complex, Joey's anger-management gets a lot more scrutiny than usual. It's not that Joey means to hurt people, she just can't control herself. When a genetics unit comes up in science class, Joey realizes that perhaps part of her personality came from the DNA of the anonymous donor that one of her moms doesn't like talking about. If Joey can figure out the root of her anger Joey has always been impulsive, but when a bad idea and an unthinking reaction get her family kicked out of their apartment complex, Joey's anger-management gets a lot more scrutiny than usual. It's not that Joey means to hurt people, she just can't control herself. When a genetics unit comes up in science class, Joey realizes that perhaps part of her personality came from the DNA of the anonymous donor that one of her moms doesn't like talking about. If Joey can figure out the root of her anger issues, maybe she can learn to control them before she hurts anyone else. I loved so many things about this book. Joey is really quite the character, and I appreciated the way we get to feel what she's feeling, from those moments she just needs to explode to the helplessness and low self-esteem that come from being bullied, to the guilt after an explosion, to the ticklings of uncertainty as she realizes she might not be straight. It's a very character-centric story, and I'm glad Nicole Melleby pushed into it and didn't just stop at that last family therapy session. It was also cool to see excellent scientific facts about genetics, as well as child-appropriate information about how IV fertilization occurs. I particularly liked exploring the relationship between Joey and her two moms, each of which are beautifully crafted and deep. I wasn't as sold on some of the other characters in the book. Thomas in particular is a bit shallow, and I was disappointed not to learn more about Benny, who is important to the story, but I couldn't initially figure out why. I also struggled with the way Joey explained her home and family situation. It's unusual, but that doesn't mean it should be hard to explain. Overall, I found this book hard to put down. I loved being able to immerse myself in the story and feel what Joey is feeling (even if a lot of her feelings are unpleasant in themselves). Fans of The Science of Breakable Things and the Unforgettable Guinivere St Claire will undoubtedly love this book too. It deals with some hard topics, but it never feels patronizing or shallow.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Aimee Dars

    Eleven-year-old Joey’s family is complicated. She’s a triplet with two moms and has an older half-brother, Benny, whose father is her gym teacher. Although the blended family is loving and supportive, Joey constantly feels angry and has little control of her temper. She threw a ball at a classmate, breaking his collarbone, and no longer talks to Layla, her best friend. Startled by a security guard at her apartment complex, hit him in the stomach, promoting her mothers to lose their lease. When t Eleven-year-old Joey’s family is complicated. She’s a triplet with two moms and has an older half-brother, Benny, whose father is her gym teacher. Although the blended family is loving and supportive, Joey constantly feels angry and has little control of her temper. She threw a ball at a classmate, breaking his collarbone, and no longer talks to Layla, her best friend. Startled by a security guard at her apartment complex, hit him in the stomach, promoting her mothers to lose their lease. When they move into a motel room while searching for a new place to live, Benny decides to stay with his dad. Joey’s anger has pushed everyone away, and now she fears Mom, not related to her genetically, may stop loving her, too. Since her science class begins a unit on genetics with a project on nature vs. nurture, Joey starts thinking about the donor who provided half her DNA. Maybe he would have answers about taming the tempestuous storm raging through her. In THE SCIENCE OF BEING ANGRY, with characteristic empathy, Nicole Melleby offers a sympathetic protagonist experiencing confusing reactions while dealing with the onset of puberty. The book provides no easy answers and represents the ripples of pain that affect the entire family when a member struggles with mental illness—I cried for probably the last fifty pages. However, it does model a hopeful path forward. I think the book would help children and parents understand each other better. Please DM me if you would like to know more about content warnings! Thanks so much to @algonquinbooks for including me on the tour and for providing an advanced reading copy of the book.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Harrison

    There’s a lot to unpack in The Science of Being Angry: Joey is a triplet with identical twin brothers conceived by use of a sperm donor. Joey has a half brother from Mom’s first marriage who would rather live with his dad. Joey is always angry — all she wants to do is scream, and she can’t seem to help acting out. Joey’s mothers are lesbian, and she thinks she might be, too. Joey’s attracted to her best friend. A science class genetics project has Joey wondering if she inherited her anger from her bio There’s a lot to unpack in The Science of Being Angry: Joey is a triplet with identical twin brothers conceived by use of a sperm donor. Joey has a half brother from Mom’s first marriage who would rather live with his dad. Joey is always angry — all she wants to do is scream, and she can’t seem to help acting out. Joey’s mothers are lesbian, and she thinks she might be, too. Joey’s attracted to her best friend. A science class genetics project has Joey wondering if she inherited her anger from her biological father. None of her classmates want to be Joey’s friend, and some of them actively bully her. With so much going on, you’d think that you’d get lost, but somehow, everything works together to create a thoughtful novel that touches on the nuances of nature, nurture and how they shape us. Author Nicole Melleby asks some tough questions of both her characters and her readers, and if you’re willing to go along with it, the answers can be rewarding. That’s not to say that The Science of Being Angry is an easy read. It’s not. Joey makes for a fascinating character study. Joey’s feelings practically pour off the page, forcing you to take a step back every once in a while, and take a breath. Readers who have experienced strong feelings themselves will particularly be drawn to Joey, as will those who may have seen similar behavior from family members or friends. The Science of Being Angry is an intense and satisfying look at discovering where and how you want to fit into the surrounding world.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Daniella

    I got an ARC copy of this book thanks to Algonquin Press and NetGalley. I have absolutely loved spending some time reading Nicole Melleby's work. I think she has a fantastic way of identifying big emotions that young people do not have the language and knowledge to express. I have seen myself as a child reflected in so many of these moments of low self-esteem, so I think her work can be an excellent teaching tool for young readers. In this novel, Joey is an eight year old struggling with anger - I got an ARC copy of this book thanks to Algonquin Press and NetGalley. I have absolutely loved spending some time reading Nicole Melleby's work. I think she has a fantastic way of identifying big emotions that young people do not have the language and knowledge to express. I have seen myself as a child reflected in so many of these moments of low self-esteem, so I think her work can be an excellent teaching tool for young readers. In this novel, Joey is an eight year old struggling with anger - lots of anger. She understands that it pushes people away, and she understands that people are afraid of her, but what she does not understand is what this anger is rooted in. She compares herself to her triplets, her moms, and the people around her. When a science project about nature vs. nurture arises, she delves into a scary question - why am I like this? This is an important novel for pre-teens. Not only does it address anger as a big emotion, but we see LGBTQ+ representation, discussions on in-vitro fertilization, integration of blended families, and themes on friendships, bullying, belonging, and genetics. There are a lot of young people that will see elements of themselves reflected here, and I think it will allow them to gain a deeper understanding that nothing is wrong with them.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Soup

    An excellent middle grade novel that deals with explosive, uncontrolled anger. Eleven-year-old Joey is 1/3 of a triplet set and while she and her brothers share many things in common with each other, their biological mother, their other mother, and their older brother (their other mother's son), only Joey seems to struggle with controlling her anger. A classroom assignment on genetics makes Joey wonder if perhaps the sperm donor used by her mothers might be the source of her anger and, better st An excellent middle grade novel that deals with explosive, uncontrolled anger. Eleven-year-old Joey is 1/3 of a triplet set and while she and her brothers share many things in common with each other, their biological mother, their other mother, and their older brother (their other mother's son), only Joey seems to struggle with controlling her anger. A classroom assignment on genetics makes Joey wonder if perhaps the sperm donor used by her mothers might be the source of her anger and, better still, may know how to stop it. Joey's search for answers intermixes with Joey's increasingly unstable behavior and her struggles to cope with the fallout from that behavior. The central question of the novel focuses on what defines a family, other topics raised include friendships, bullying, LQBTQIA2S themes, an belonging. Bring tissues.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Binxie

    This read like an issue book that couldn't decide its issue. Facets of it were well done. Being a child conceived through IVF with the sperm donor being anonymous, Joey's anxiety and discomfort with the genetics class project rang true. Joey is a triplet with identical twin brother birth mates, an older half-brother, and two moms. One of her mom's has an ex-husband who is the father of her older brother and is part of the extended family. Joey's inability to control her anger leads to her losing This read like an issue book that couldn't decide its issue. Facets of it were well done. Being a child conceived through IVF with the sperm donor being anonymous, Joey's anxiety and discomfort with the genetics class project rang true. Joey is a triplet with identical twin brother birth mates, an older half-brother, and two moms. One of her mom's has an ex-husband who is the father of her older brother and is part of the extended family. Joey's inability to control her anger leads to her losing friends, being suspended from school, and feeling like she doesn't belong, even in her family. Her underlying questions of her sexual identity causes problems in all these areas as well. Hence, therapy for her and her moms. There is lots going on and as with too many books, lack of focus takes away from the quality of the story.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This is one of those books where you ache for the protagonist through the whole book. Joey is in pain, mental pain. She wants to scream all the time, and she lashes out at others that love her. Her two moms don't know what is wrong, and don't know how to help her. Her class is doing a section on genetics, and she wonders where all this anger is coming from. Is it nature or nurture? Did it come from her mom, or from her donor. If it is from her donor, does he know how to control his rage? Joey doe This is one of those books where you ache for the protagonist through the whole book. Joey is in pain, mental pain. She wants to scream all the time, and she lashes out at others that love her. Her two moms don't know what is wrong, and don't know how to help her. Her class is doing a section on genetics, and she wonders where all this anger is coming from. Is it nature or nurture? Did it come from her mom, or from her donor. If it is from her donor, does he know how to control his rage? Joey doesn't want to be this way, so very angry at the world, but she doesn't know how to solve it, and keeps getting in worse and worse trouble. There were times I was crying. The author knows how to tear our heart to shreds. Not an easy book to read, but a good book, because it explores that anger. Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.

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