Genre: Young Adult

Shayla’s Double Brown Baby Blues by Lori Aurelia Williams is a novel about a young girl named Shayla Dubois. The story follows Shayla a thirteen year old girl who loves to write and who must confront different problems that she encounters in her life. She must learn that her life is changing and that she has to figure out how to deal with all the changes.

Shayla’s father has remarried and has a new baby girl named Gift. Gift was born on Shayla’s birthday. Shayla must deal with her father showing more love to the new baby than he ever showed her. While dealing with the jealousy towards her new stepsister, she learns that her best friend named Kambia is receiving packages that remind Kambia of her horrible childhood. Shayla tries to help her friend and through the process discovers more about her friend’s tragic past. Shayla has also become friends with Lemm, a boy at her school. She finds out that he has his own dark past that he must face, and Shayla does her best to support her new friend all she can before he puts his life more at risk. Even though Shayla has a kind heart and tries to help her friends, she must first learn how to deal with her own feelings and help herself.

The story flows as a poem would and has been described as being poetic. The description definitely fits the narrative. The story is told so beautifully through Shayla’s perspective. How issues are described by Shayla’s Grandma Augustine and others is truly mesmerizing. There is a tale for everything, according to Grandma Augustine, and each tale has a specific lesson for young Shayla. Even though Shayla may not believe her grandmother that is what makes Shayla a believable character. She is relatable, and she reacts to situations as a thirteen year old might. Although she seems more mature than most girls or boys her age, she makes mistakes and has to deal with consequences.

Shayla develops a lot as a character as she has to deal with new problems showing up in her life. She goes from being jealous over a new baby to putting her own feelings aside to help others who need her. Shayla has to deal with major issues throughout the story. The reader can get really involved with the plot, and it is a story that is hard to stop reading. The story is captivating and keeps the reader wanting to find out what happens next. Characters in this novel are realistic, and there are points in the book that it is possible to not like one of the characters for something he or she does. The characters make the plot convincing.

Shayla’s Double Brown Baby Blues is a remarkable story that deserves more recognition. The story flows well and keeps the reader’s attention. The characters are plausible, and by the end, the reader may want to know more about what happens next in Shayla’s world. While this is not the typical book for every young adult, it has important messages in it about how to overcome difficult obstacles, and it’s definitely worth reading.

My Rating: ★★★★