Teen Volunteer Review: The Only Black Girls in Town

This summer, Boston Public Library's teen volunteer program has gone remote! As part of this program, local high schoolers will be sharing their thoughts on books, movies, and more on our blog. Earlier in the summer, teen librarians hosted an event with author Brandy Colbert. Teen volunteer Mia Ikeda, a sophomore at Wesford Academy, attended that event and was then inspired to read and review Colbert's new book The Only Black Girls in Town.

Written by Brandy Colbert, the middle grade novel The Only Black Girls In Town is about the unlikely friendship between two girls named Alberta and Edie. Alberta is a California native who loves to spend her summers surfing and eating ice cream with her best friend, Laramie. Alberta is also used to being the only Black girl in her town. When Alberta hears of a new Black girl moving into her neighborhood, she is thrilled. Alberta is convinced that the new girl will love the things Alberta herself loves about her hometown. Then they meet, and Alberta is shocked by how different they are.

Her new neighbor, Edie, has moved from Brooklyn. Edie finds the small California beach town less exciting than her old home. As they are struggling to find common ground, the two girls find mysterious diaries in Edie’s room. Together, they embark on a search for the author. As their friendship blooms, they discover buried secrets within the old pages. Throughout the book, Edie and Alberta also navigate the ups and downs of middle school.

I really enjoyed this novel, as it incorporates an element of relatability. Many middle schoolers go through different roadblocks than Edie and Alberta, but the challenges they face are still relatable. I enjoyed how the author tied together the differences between Edie and Alberta and helped them to realize their similarities.