Cover Image: The Science of Being Angry

The Science of Being Angry

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Member Reviews

Beautiful. Full of emotions and the true questions one ask oneself regarding identity, family and bonds.

It's not the first book I've read by the author so I can vouch for her excellent treatment of sensible topics, and this book is proof of it. It's a lovely story full of happiness, sadness and love all over.
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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..
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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!
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The Science of Being Angry could actually have a lot of different titles, the most prominent among them: The Power of Being Loved. Because while it is a book about being angry and no one could argue with that, just as much it’s a book about being loved. About how you can be loved despite and in spite of being angry all the time.

Joey is eleven, and a lot of the time her chest feels tight and she wants to just scream and scream, until it all comes down. She has so much anger in her little body, and doesn’t know how to deal with it. So like every child, she figures it’s her fault and it’s on her alone to fix it.

That’s the greatest strength of The Science of Being Angry (and Melleby’s writing in general, to be honest): giving a kid an amazing support system. Joey has two moms, two identical but totally different brothers (she’s a triplet), an older brother, and a best friend. Not all of them always understand her (even she doesn’t understand her own feelings sometimes!), but they do all try. They do things they didn’t maybe believe in at first, because it might help her; they give her second chance after second chance; they show her she’s loved. Sometimes that’s all that matters. 

There are no definitive answers in The Science of Being Angry, and the ending itself is more of a promise than anything else. But that hope is exactly what a troubled, a little bit lost kid might need. This novel tells you that no matter how much you think you messed up, there’s always a way out & people who will help you find it.
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The Science of Being Angry could actually have a lot of different titles, the most prominent among them: The Power of Being Loved. Because while it is a book about being angry and no one could argue with that, just as much it’s a book about being loved. About how you can be loved despite and in spite of being angry all the time.

Joey is eleven, and a lot of the time her chest feels tight and she wants to just scream and scream, until it all comes down. She has so much anger in her little body, and doesn’t know how to deal with it. So like every child, she figures it’s her fault and it’s on her alone to fix it.

That’s the greatest strength of The Science of Being Angry (and Melleby’s writing in general, to be honest): giving a kid an amazing support system. Joey has two moms, two identical but totally different brothers (she’s a triplet), an older brother, and a best friend. Not all of them always understand her (even she doesn’t understand her own feelings sometimes!), but they do all try. They do things they didn’t maybe believe in at first, because it might help her; they give her second chance after second chance; they show her she’s loved. Sometimes that’s all that matters. 

There are no definitive answers in The Science of Being Angry, and the ending itself is more of a promise than anything else. But that hope is exactly what a troubled, a little bit lost kid might need. This novel tells you that no matter how much you think you messed up, there’s always a way out & people who will help you find it.
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A tiny girl with a big heart!! A great story that displays children with anger issues and how to handle.
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Joey's anger and her inability to cope with not understanding where the anger comes from feels very authentic. The nature vs nuture lesson in class helps her to see that even though she doesn't know anything about the donor father, she is more like all the members of her family than she had seen before. She might have come from Mama, but she has so much in common with Mom and her step-brother, Benny, that the project allowed her to see. Joey's trying not to be so angry and mean to everyone around her, including her triplet brother, Colton and Thomas, and coming to terms with the fact she might be falling in love with her best friend, Layla, bring the narrative and the characters to life.
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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
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I found this text to have a lot going on, but also felt like nothing really happened. It felt like it was trying to do too much. It reminded me a little of We Dream of Space. I think that there are students that could enjoy this, but I wouldn't use it in the classroom since the characters were static for the majority of the book.
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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.
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A friend of mine highly recommended this book after reading the ARC, I can see easily see why. This book is an "all the feelings" story, one where you ache for the main character and how hard she is trying to do the right thing, to be her best self, and how much she is struggling to understand who she is. This includes both an exploration of mental health and exploration of understanding her feelings for her best friend. It's a lot for a middle schooler to wrestle with, but it's something that many middle schoolers will understand. Highly recommend.
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Nicole once again impresses me with The Science of Being Angry. In every book written by Nicole you can expect LGBTQIA+ rep and mental health rep, and it’s here in this one too.  We have lesbian moms (mom and mama), a blended family, and the main character has anger issues and a crush on her female best friend. 

I loved our main character, Joey.  She is strong and stubborn, but just wants to be loved, understood, and accepted.  Throughout the book you feel for Joey and her feeling of being an outsider almost everywhere: at school, at home, at hockey.  I loved that we explored the sense of belonging through genealogy and nature versus nurute (psychology major in me again loving it!).  I think its great that nature and nurute were explored here, and at a realistic level that this age group would be able to connect to.

Joey also struggles with her sexuality throughout the book.  We get to see the friendship and connection Joey has with her best friend/crush but is terrified of hurting her.  This wasn’t the focus of the book and I was ok with that.  It felt more like a nice extra piece of the story, something to route for.

The book also explore bullying, self worth, and therapy – all of which I believe was done well.  Nicole was able to pull on my heart strings once again, despite my early thoughts of not being as connected with the characters as I was with those in Nicole’s others novels. And that would be my only negative to this book. I wasn’t feeling connected, as quickly, to Joey as I had expected. I was hoping there would be more definitely answers for Joey’s mental health as well. I know this is more realistic, but I had wanted just a little more (and extra hundred pages or so to explore it).

Overall I was very happy with this book and I will be recommending this to my library once again. If you’ve read any of Nicole’s other novels then you’ll want to read this one too. It’s a great book with great representation, especially for this age group.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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This is a lovely story that gets at the heart of real fears and hurdles that kids struggle with every day.
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Thank you to Algonquin Young Readers, for this free review copy.

Middle grade reads are some of my absolute favorites, and I have read so many good ones, these past few months. When this copy landed in my hand, it sounded good. But instead, it was fantastic. Some parts had me bawling my eyes out, and some parts had my heart hurting so much, from all the love. As a parent, I truly loved it, and it will stay on my daughters shelf, for when she is older.

Eleven-year-old Joey is angry. All the time. At school. At home. At her friends. At her moms. She is always mad, and truly has no clue why. She loses her temper a lot, and that temper even makes her family lose their home. 

One day in science class, she is assigned a new product all about genetics. Could this be what helps her find who she is? Did she inherit something from her donor that her moms chose? Should she look for him and try to learn more? 

From start to finish, I ADORED this book. Joey truly wants to do better, but she is so young and just doesn’t understand why she is the way she is. She has many brothers who love her, and two fantastic moms. But all she does is hurt them. This book is the most heartwarming story about what truly makes a family, and what makes us all who we are. The Science of Being Angry comes out May 10th, 2022. Purchase it. Borrow it from your library. Read it and truly enjoy it. This will remain one of my favorite middle grade books, of 2022. It will forever have a spot on my shelf. 

Thank you again to the publisher and author, for this free review copy.
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I was invited by the publisher to read and review this book, so I’d like to thank Algonquin, NetGalley and Nicole Melleby for the opportunity. I wouldn’t sought it out myself because I ​haven’t met a book by this author that I didn’t like. I love how she writes books with middle grade characters who have issues kids that age usually do, but she crafts the plot and the narration in such a way that pretty much anyone can relate to what they’re reading. Joey, our main character, has an anger issue that she can’t control or even understand. Her Mama, who is her biological mother isn’t like that, and Joey thinks that maybe “the donor” could have passed the anger gene onto her. Joey is also scared that her Mom, having no biological ties to her, might leave her one day because of her anger. I probably did a lousy job at this synopsis, which means you definitely have to read this novel and see what it’s really about.
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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. 

<em>Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.</em>
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I have liked every book by Nicole Melleby so far.  She's definitely an author that I will continue to read.  I usually end up crying in her books.  I came close this time, but I held it back.

Joey is a triplet born using a donor.  Mama and Mom have raised them and she usually doesn't think about who the donor was.  But Joey has a lot of issues controlling her anger.  She doesn't know what causes her to lash out and it's getting worse.  She gets them kicked out of their apartment after punching a security guard.  She throws things.  She wants to scream and no one understands.  She even stopped talking to her best friend, Layla.  Not only did Joey not want to hurt her, but she also started liking her as more than a friend.  When their science class does a section on genetics, Joey is paired up with Layla who researches family trees with her mom.  Joey asks Layla for help finding her donor.  She doesn't want a relationship with him.  She just wants to ask if he gets really angry and see if he can help her stop.  No one else in her family gets this angry.  Joey is very closed off because of it and most kids don't even talk to her.  She has outbursts all the time.  The science experiment was to see if nature or nurture determines who you are more than the other.  A lot of feelings come out that Joey didn't' even realize she had.  She hurts both Mom and Mama, but they want to do what they can to help her.

This wasn't my favorite Nicole Melleby book, but I still really liked it.  She does such a great job with middle grade depression, anxiety, and sexual orientation.  These things are so important for kids that age.

I gave this book 4 stars.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my earc.
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