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Genesis Begins Again

4.48  ·  Rating details ·  137 ratings  ·  53 reviews
This deeply sensitive and powerful debut novel tells the story of a thirteen-year-old who is filled with self-loathing and must overcome internalized racism and a verbally abusive family to finally learn to love herself.

There are ninety-six things Genesis hates about herself. She knows the exact number because she keeps a list. Like #95: Because her skin is so dark, people
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published January 15th 2019 by S&S/Atheneum
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4.48  · 
Rating details
 ·  137 ratings  ·  53 reviews

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Dec 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs
Edelweiss+ provided me a DRC of this book in exchange for an honest review.


I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again: there are not enough middle grade books that feature African American girls and their day to day lives, along with some of the unique issues they face. This one was PHENOMENAL.

Genesis deals with so many issues that children face--academic struggles, poverty, a parent struggling with addiction, making friends, racism. RACISM
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Genesis Begins Again is a raw, honest view of what it can feel like to be a young girl with a dark complexion trying to conform to society's beauty standards. In addition to the ups and downs, mostly downs, of middle school, Genesis must navigate life with an alcoholic, gambling father who destroys her sense of security every month.

The book begins with Genesis feeling euphoric because she has made friends with the most popular girls in her grade. They have agreed to visit her home and they arri
Destiny Henderson
I can't help but wonder how it feels to be so bound up that you can't be or do what you want" (pg 72).

Despite the gorgeous cover, I was a bit wary about reading this because I didn’t know if this was just going to be a depressing-beat-you-down story. That type of stuff can drag your esteem down if you’re not already in a place of self-love. Thankfully, that wasn't the case. I think this is a great book for young black girls. It tackles the effects of colorism in a relatable way. Even for those w
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is INCREDIBLE. My heart absolutely broke for Genesis as I read her story, thinking of all the amazing kids I’ve taught who might have felt that same self-loathing. This is a story that I hope will be a kinder mirror for those kids, showing them an honest glimpse of their own beauty, and an empathetic window for others. I was drawn right into Genesis’ story, feeling her conflicted emotions, her courageous triumphs, and her painful regrets. We need more books like this- own-voices books ...more
Emily Polson
Reminiscent of The Bluest Eye, but packaged for a middle grade audience. For me, the execution fell a bit short of what it could have been, but I hope this book serves as a mirror or a window to young readers.
Amber Webb
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We all have hurts. We all have pain. We all have lists of things we don't love about ourselves, but we all deserve a chance to begin again. We all deserve a fresh start.
Genesis Begins Again is a beautifully written novel about discovering who you are through those around you. It's about learning your history for better or worse. Genesis gets moved around the greater Detroit area thanks to her Dad's bad habits and irresponsibility. She is finally starting to feel settled in a place with people sh
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful. We need more books like this for teens today. Genesis manages to be both wise and heartbreaking and - ultimately - uplifting. I'm sure her message will resonate with the intended readers of that age. I look forward to seeing more from Alicia D. Williams!
Ms. Yingling
Jul 08, 2017 rated it liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Genesis' family often falls on hard times. Her father has an industrial job, her mother cares for the elderly, and they have been evicted from four different homes in the Detroit area. During the last eviction, Genesis had brought home girls from school whom she hoped to impress, but this of course backfires. Her father, who is an extremely problematic alcoholic who is not very kind to Genesis, surprises her and her mother with a fancy house he has rented in the wealthy
Dec 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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This is a story about growing up, discovering your self-worth, and learning how to navigate complicated relationship. Genesis Begins Again is one of the best middle grade novels that I have ever read. I appreciated the fact that Williams did not hold back simply because she was writing a middle-grade novel. I want to put it in the hands of everyone of any age. I think a lot of young girls will really relate to Genesis’ story and her struggle to fit in when her comple
Jessica Hernandez
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thirty pages into this and I could barely contain my excitement and my tears. Excitement for the fact that the literary community is finally beginning to turn its ear to Black girls issues, and tears for the many, many problems that Genesis, the main character, realistically faces.

"Genesis Begins Again" is the story of 13-year-old Genesis, a Detroit teenager with a list of 100 things she hates about herself. She hates her dark brown skin color, her kinky, thick hair. She also hates the fact tha
Kendra  Walker
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First, let me start off by saying thank you to Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing, by way of NetGalley, for the advanced copy of "Genesis Begins Again", in exchange for my honest opinion.
"Genesis Begins Again",starts off as a seemingly light hearted teen friendly tale, but it becomes apparent quickly that this is so much more. It soon becomes evident that young Genesis is eager to fit in with a particular group of girls. Just when she believes that she is on the right track life throws a w
Kendra  Walker
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
First, let me start off by saying thank you to Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing, by way of NetGalley, for the advanced copy of "Genesis Begins Again", in exchange for my honest opinion.
"Genesis Begins Again",starts off as a seemingly light hearted teen friendly tale, but it becomes apparent quickly that this is so much more. It soon becomes evident that young Genesis is eager to fit in with a particular group of girls. Just when she believes that she is on the right track life throws a w
Feb 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: abandoned, children-s
diverse children's middlegrade fiction (13 y.o. w/alcoholic father and working mom gets evicted, starts over in a new school in a nicer neighborhood/suburb in Detroit, gains confidence in herself and learns that her darker, blue-black skin does not make her ugly).
I liked Genesis, but felt this book was a bit long for a middlegrade story. Characters felt real and the awfulness of middleschool also felt real, but there was not as much action as I am used to (the lack of which can also be very real
"I've been caught up in the hype and what everybody thought of me, and I'm tired of it. I just want to look in the mirror and be okay with myself, that's all."

A new favorite of mine, Genesis Begins Again is a very important book for everyone to read. It deals with colorism, and internalized racism. Man, woman, and child, and people of all colors definitely need to read this.! And I think this book will be especially important for poc children who are black and brown, as a early lesson in help
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen, childrens-books
Genesis keeps a list of things that she hates about herself. Some of it is the color of her skin and the way that others tease her about how dark she is, unlike her light-skinned mother with good hair. Some of it is about the way that their family keeps getting kicked out of the houses they live in because they don’t pay the rent. Some of it is the way her father speaks about her when he is drunk. Some of it is based on her grandmother’s hurtful comments about Genesis. So after being kicked out ...more
Katie Reilley
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I picked this one up after Colby Sharp recommended it, and I’m grateful I did.

Genesis faces many issues that middle school students contend with: making friends, academic struggles, parental addictions, poverty, and finding self-acceptance despite the insult placed in her life.

An important read for middle grade students and the adults in their lives.
Ailynn Knox-Collins
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I found myself 'talking'(at times yelling) to the main character as I sometimes do to TV shows - that's how involved I was in this story. I was drawn in by young Genesis, and rooted for her all the way. Great read.
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow! I read this book after reading a book that I did not want to read and had taken me 2 weeks to finish, but this book I read the entire book in a day because it was that good. The voices of the characters were authentic. I thought the topics were real which sucked me right into the story. My heart broke for Genesis so many times, but just like in real life you have people that come into you life at just the right moments that lift you up and give you the encouragement that you need in hard ti ...more
Michael Clark
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
Sarah Wilsman
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This should be an award contender - coming of age #ownvoices
Tonja Drecker
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Raw, realistic and, at times, heart-breaking, this is a read which tackles a tough topic and gets under the skin.

Genesis' excitement at finally having found friends crashes as their sudden visit to her home ends with the family's entire belongings on the front lawn. Thanks to her father, they've been kicked out of the house again, and her new found friends turn this into a chance to make even more fun of her. If the problems with her father and their family life weren't enough, they now are movi
Amalie Jahn
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In a word... GLORIOUS.

Sometimes you come across a book that encompasses so much of the human condition, it speaks to your entire soul. Genesis Begins Again is one of those books.

While this story follows the journey of Genesis specifically and the many ways she hates herself, I believe the author tells this story in such a way as to speak to anyone who has ever felt 'less than' in one way or another. I also loved that she tackled the difficult conversation of blackness from within the black commu
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Oh, Genesis! My heart broke for this girl who internalized all of the awful things in her life. I was afraid she was going to do something truly awful and permanently harmful because of this hatred she had for herself and especially for the dark color of her skin. Everything in the book stays appropriate for a middle grade audience, but I think some of the things Genesis is thinking and feeling and experiencing pushes this to the upper end of that age range.

While there are a lot of things to be
Lori Harris
Actual rating 4.5
In what reads like new beginnings, her father’s latest failure to pay the rent moves them out of Detroit and into white wealthy suburbia. Genesis’ father has an opportunity for a promotion and her mother is revisiting her own prospects. A work contact agreed to rent them a big house with a yard and a washer/dryer that is within walking distance to a new school for Genesis. It’s at Farmington Oaks Middle where Genesis will finally make friends, decide what she wants for herself, and meet the pivo ...more
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
content warnings: colourism, (internalised) racism, bullying, alcoholism

This book is going to be so so important for so many young people and I really hope it reaches a wide audience. It's unflinching, it dares to confront tough topics and it bravely and accurately depicts the anxieties of a modern teenage girl.

I adored Genesis, and whilst she felt slightly mature, she also made choices which were completely in line for a character of that age which made her seem more realistic. She was complet
Jill Jemmett
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is an emotional story about a young girl who learns to love herself.

Genesis goes on a journey throughout this book. She starts out with friends who bully her and her family being evicted. She has to learn to love herself, but she makes many mistakes along the way, such as changing her hair, choosing the wrong friends, and even bleaching her skin.

Genesis is also bullied by her father. It was heartbreaking to see how her father yelled at her and put her down because she had his dark skin inst
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best middle grade books I've read in a long time. The voice is compelling and it guides the reader through some difficult topics and lands them safely in a good place. I am grateful this book exists, and it's going to change the lives of some of the kids that read it.
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“I’ll tell you what beauty ain’t. It ain’t some organ hidden on the inside – no one cares about how good your heart is. And another thing, being black like me ain’t nothing to be proud about.”

I haven’t been floored by a book in awhile. The story is full of such raw, and powerful moments that Williams artfully navigates. Ultimately, Genesis Begins Again is a story of acceptance: of wanting to be accepted by others, of learning how to accept yourself, of learning that you can refuse to accept the
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