In this semi-autobiographical debut novel, thirteen-year-old Vanessa Martin watches as the first black Miss America is crowned. It’s 1983 in Newark, New Jersey, and Vanessa’s life is a far cry from the glamorous Miss America stage. She struggles with family, friendships, racism, and self-confidence. When a new teacher at school coordinates a beauty pageant and asks Vanessa to enter, Vanessa decides there’s no way. But with help from Pop Pop and her cousin TJ, Vanessa prepares for the challenge. Add in the neighborhood mean girl, a mysterious envelope addressed to Vanessa, and trying to make monthly ends meet, and eighth-grade is as stressful as it gets.
Published by: Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.