Cover Image: Winnie Nash Is Not Your Sunshine

Winnie Nash Is Not Your Sunshine

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Member Reviews

Melleby never fails to impress me.
This novel especially hit me harder than the others she's written.
Winnie was such a voracious, brave and utterly relatable character. I abhorred the fact that she was forced back into the closet because of the fear that her grandmother wouldn't accept her only to find out that her gran is completely fine with and even celebrates Winnie just the way she is.
It's a story of stereotypes and the fear that comes with being queer and having to guess just how unconditional the love of your family really is when you're not the way they want you to be. Melleby portrayed this guessing game so accurately that it sometimes hurt to read. Overall though, Winnie Nash Is Not Your Sunshine is a wonderfully queer novel about hope, friendship, family and facing the world head-on - no matter what others might say.

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Winnie Nash sounds like the name of an elderly woman, but surprise! The Winnie Nash in this book is a 12-year-old girl. However, she is spending the summer at her grandmother's retirement community. This is to make her mom's life a little less stressful as she tries to finish out her pregnancy after suffering numerous miscarriages. Winnie does NOT want to be the only kid with a bunch of seniors. She's not particularly close with her grandma either. To top it all off, she has been told not to discuss things inside the home with people outside the home - things like her mother's miscarriages and the fact that Winnie has liked girls for her entire life.

Things start looking up when Winnie meets two girls her age and starts hanging out with them, Still, she wishes she didn't have to keep so many secrets from her grandmother and her friends. She is also dying to go to New York City's Pride parade but how can she get there without telling her grandma?

I love the way this story centers around the idea that letting those around us in almost always proves to be a good thing. I also love the way that Winnie and her grandmother's relationship blossoms and flourishes over the course of the story. What I didn't care for was the writing style. The author frequently referenced Winnie by name when it really wasn't necessary. t made the writing feel a little clunky and juvenile. Overall though, I really enjoyed this book. It's a great summer (or anytime) read for upper elementary readers.

Thanks to Algonquin Young Readers and NetGalley for a review copy of this title.

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Mini synopsis: Winnie Nash is spending the summer with her grandma while her parents are preparing for the arrival of her baby sibling. Winnie does not want to be there, but finds it might be the place she needs to be!

Since I went in blind, I wasn’t sure what I was going to get with this book. But it was very deep & covered a lot of topics that I wasn’t expecting, especially for a middle grade. For the age range, it covers coming out, hiding your identity, miscarriages, depression, bullying etc (trigger warnings for any of those topics too!) there was a delicate way these hard topics were discussed that i think could be really helpful for someone this age to read about. Especially during a time of big change (new sibling & new location) i think it’s really relatable story like for children.

I really thought the author did a really good job of flushing out Winnie as a character. I liked the angle of having her already out & knowing she liked girls. I like stories where the characters are figuring it out but I think it can work for people who already know. Especially since that’s not the main focus! Winnie was frustrating at times, but she’s 12 so it felt realistic! She was so strong willed & went for the things she wanted. I also liked all the side characters, especially Winnie’s grandma! She was the best! 🥹

Overall, if you enjoy middle grade or have a child in this age range, I think this is a good pick!

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Winnie Nash is spending the summer on the Jersey Shore, but she doesn't want to be there... sleeping on her grandmothers sofa, spending her days at the community center, having to hide who she really is, and missing Pride for yet another year. Winnie cannot understand why her parents sent her away to her grandmothers house. She doesn't know why her parents are trying for yet another baby, after all of the disappointments, and periods of depression from her mother. And most of all Winnie doesn't understand why she isn't enough...

This was a cute book that confronted a lot of potentially difficult topics such as, Young Adult LGBTQI*, depression, mis-carriage, siblings, and friendships. The book also addresses the importance of clear communication in the family dynamic.

Generally, I found this an enjoyable book that both Young adults and adults can enjoy this summer, I would recommend to anyone looking for an easy to read book that still has some "meaning" behind it.

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Nicole Melleby's "Winnie Nash Is Not Your Sunshine" is a poignant and heartfelt exploration of identity, family, and the journey to self-acceptance. Through the eyes of 12-year-old Winnie Nash, readers are invited into a world of secrets, struggles, and ultimately, triumphs.

As the story unfolds, we are introduced to Winnie, a young girl grappling with the complexities of her family's dynamics while navigating her own emerging sense of identity. Forced to spend the summer with her grandmother, Winnie finds herself torn between loyalty to her family's secrets and the undeniable pull of her authentic self.

Melleby's portrayal of Winnie's journey is both authentic and relatable, capturing the challenges and triumphs of coming to terms with one's identity in the face of societal expectations and familial pressures. As Winnie navigates the ups and downs of her summer with her grandmother, readers are treated to a nuanced exploration of queer representation and the importance of finding community and acceptance.

One of the standout elements of the book is its portrayal of intergenerational connections and the bonds that tie families together. Through Winnie's interactions with her grandmother and her grandmother's friends, Melleby beautifully captures the power of love, understanding, and acceptance across generations.

I found myself deeply moved by Winnie's struggles with her mother's depression and the impact it has on their family. Melleby's sensitive handling of this theme highlights the profound emotional toll that adult problems can have on children, underscoring the importance of open communication and support within families.

The character of Winnie's grandmother resonated deeply with me, reminding me of my own experiences coming out to my family. Her unwavering love and acceptance serve as a beacon of hope for Winnie and readers alike, showcasing the transformative power of unconditional love and understanding.

At its core, "Winnie Nash Is Not Your Sunshine" is a story about the universal need for acceptance, belonging, and love. Through Winnie's journey, Melleby reminds us of the importance of finding community and embracing our true selves, even in the face of adversity.

In conclusion, "Winnie Nash Is Not Your Sunshine" is a beautifully written and emotionally resonant novel that speaks to the heart of what it means to be true to oneself. With its richly drawn characters, authentic storytelling, and powerful themes, it is a testament to the transformative power of love, acceptance, and the courage to be oneself.

Nicole Melleby has quickly become one of my favorite authors, and I eagerly anticipate her future works.

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Winnie Nash has been sent to live with her grandma for the summer so her parents can sort everything out. Winnie doesn't know what that means but she hope it isn't her mom having another miscarriage. Her parents don't want her to upset her grandma, so they ask her to keep her gayness to herself. Nobody notices that Winnie is the one that's upset. Great read with important situations.

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I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I thought that it was a very believable POV from Winnie's perspective.
I really cared for her and the relationships she made, it touched on a lot of heavy topics in a well written and easily digestible way.
This book made me reflect on my teen years and I felt that I could relate to Winnie and how she felt with her relationship to her parents.

I can not wait to suggest this book for readers at our library.

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Even though this is a story that was told from the perspective of a 12-year-old, I feel like anyone from any age can learn so much from this beautifully honest novel. I was so moved throughout the whole book to see how Winnie as struggling to cope with her mom’s current pregnancy given that she had depression from her previous miscarriage. Not being able to talk about this with her grandma who she was staying with for the summer, along with her queer identity was so much to bottle up (as it would be for anyone).

I couldn’t help but tear up because I was filled with all the emotions that Winnie was feeling – the anxiety, the worry, the anger, the feeling of abandonment, and the desperation to hold on to the good. However, the friendship, support, and community she did experience was just as touching to experience with her. I’m so grateful that I was able to read this arc And I hope that it touches everyone who is able to read it just as it touched me.

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Winnie Nash has a lot to deal with as a 12 year old girl. She’s dealing with her own identity, parental issues, and having to spend the summer with a grandmother she doesn’t know very well.

I enjoyed the story and thought Winnie was a well developed character. I think many young readers will be able to connect to her. Winnie’s friends were also very enjoyable characters. They were so supportive of her right even though they hadn’t known her long. The most surprising thing for me was how much I liked Winnie’s grandmother. Her love for Winnie really shined through. Winnie’s parents on the other hand left something to be desired. I felt like the storyline with them was a bit underdeveloped. Some questions related to them were answered, but I feel like overall they were very self centered and focused on their own problems. I thought the discussion about seeking family therapy at the end of the book was important and I’m glad it was included.

Overall, this is an engaging and thought provoking middle grade book. I just wish the situation with the parents had been flushed out a bit more.

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Every Nicole Melleby book I’ve read so far has been spot-on with its exploration of complex emotions, especially anger, anxiety, and sadness. Those are such huge things that kids feel, and Melleby relates those emotions with unflinching honesty and genuine tenderness. She’s brilliant. I think that’s all there is to it.

Another thing that is so beautiful about this book is the evolution of the relationships in it. At the beginning, Winnie doesn’t feel close to her grandmother. It seems like they mostly get on each other’s nerves. But as the story progresses, Winnie begins to see and understand more about her grandmother, and her grandma’s understanding of Winnie grows, too. They find ways to connect. And then, when Winnie finds herself in an emotional freefall, her grandma is able to meet her there in unexpected ways.

I also loved the friendships between Winnie, Lucía, and Pippa for somewhat the same reason. Winnie grows so much as she gets to know these girls. She learns a lot about friendship and trust. She learns about opening up. It’s so cool.

While the story doesn’t focus on Winnie’s mom’s past miscarriages, and Winnie isn’t even living with her mom for most of the book, some of the snapshots of memories focus on her mom’s feelings of depression afterward and Winnie’s fears about her mom and the baby. I found that to be a super emotional reading experience because of my own experience. I don’t know if it would be helpful for kids who’ve had parents experience a pregnancy loss to read Winnie’s experience or not. It could help give kids a way to articulate some of the things they’re feeling about a really hard situation.

On the whole, I gotta say Nicole Melleby did it again. This is another deep and powerfully told story that welcomes young readers into some of life’s painful places with grace and gentleness and offers respite in the representation of safe, loving adults and the unexpected gift of a good friend.

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions my own.

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This story is a celebration of love, resilience, and the power of community. "Winnie Nash Is Not Your Sunshine" by Nicole Melleby contains sun-drenched pages who weave a poignant and heartwarming tale that resonates with readers of all ages. This middle-grade novel is a luminous exploration of identity, family secrets, and the transformative power of acceptance.

Meet 12-year-old Winnifred "Winnie" Nash. She is no ordinary girl. With her name often mistaken for that of a senior citizen, she navigates life with a maturity beyond her years. When circumstances force her to spend the summer with her grandmother in New Jersey, Winnie grapples with the weight of family secrets and her own hidden truth. As a young girl who knows she's gay, she has been pushed into the metaphorical closet by her parents, who fear her grandmother's judgment. But Winnie yearns for the freedom to be her authentic self, especially as she dreams of attending the Pride Parade in New York City.

Melleby deftly explores themes of identity, resilience, and the complexities of family dynamics. Winnie's struggle to balance her family's expectations with her own desires forms the emotional core of the novel. As she immerses herself in her grandmother's senior community, Winnie discovers unlikely friendships, unexpected joys, and the courage to embrace her true self.

Winnie is a relatable and endearing protagonist. Her vulnerability and determination make her journey both heartrending and empowering. Her interactions with the seniors are infused with humour and warmth. The supporting characters, including her grandmother, add depth and authenticity to the narrative.

The sun-baked streets of New Jersey come alive in Melleby's vivid descriptions. From the community centre’s bustling activities to the quiet moments shared on the porch swing, the setting serves as a backdrop for Winnie's emotional growth. Readers will feel the summer heat, taste the lemonade, and hear the shuffle of cards as they immerse themselves in Winnie's world.

The prose is lyrical and evocative. Melleby captures the nuances of Winnie's emotions, from the fear of rejection, to the longing for acceptance, and the thrill of newfound connections with grace. The pacing is gentle yet compelling, allowing readers to savour each chapter. As Winnie grapples with her own truth, readers are reminded that acceptance begins within ourselves. The novel encourages conversations about identity, family, and the importance of being true to who we are.

Melleby's latest work is a luminous gem that will resonate with readers of all backgrounds. Whether you're 12 or 92-years-young, Winnie’s journey will leave an indelible mark on your heart. So grab a copy, find a sunny spot, and let Winnie's story illuminate your day.

Thank you to NetGalley and Algonquin Young Readers for a temporary e-ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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Thank you to NetGalley, author Nicole Melleby, and Algonquin Young Readers for providing me with a free ARC in exchange for my honest opinion!

I am such a sucker for queer middle grade reads!!! This one was definitely a lot heavier than others that I have read, but I think that's a good thing. Melleby has such good anxiety representation in this book, especially for pre-teens who are having really big feelings. There's a lot going on in Winnie's life, between family changes and her personal identity (though I loved that she was proudly and confidently queer the entire book!!), and it's definitely reflected through the book. I think it's great that kids, especially queer kids, can have this book for representation that everything is ~not~ always rainbows yet that is still okay. I loved seeing Winnie's relationship with her grandmother grow, as well as her friendship with Pippa and Lucia. If anything, I would have liked for there to be more of the girls' friendships present in the book. I also felt as though it wrapped up a bit too quickly for just how heavy the book was. Overall though, I really enjoyed Melleby's writing, and I definitely recommend for a diverse MG read!!

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3.5 stars rounded up to 4
Trigger Warnings: The storyline refers to multiple miscarriages of the main character's mother

Thanks to NetGalley and Algonquin Young Readers for access to this title. All opinions expressed are my own

Book Description Tagline: In this powerful novel by an award-winning author, 12-year-old Winnie Nash is forced to live with her grandma for the summer and finds herself torn between her family’s secrets and the joy of celebrating Pride.

Winnie Nash. I want to hold you in my arms, you dear sweet child. It's okay not to be full of sunshine all the time. You are allowed all of your emotions.

More than anything, this middle-grade novel touches upon being our authentic selves and allowing space for our emotions. That's what made it a winner for me.

Loved Pippa and Lucia, summer friends who embrace Winnie for who she is. I have a secret hope that in their fictional world, they will always remain steadfast like that.


Did I have a problem with her parents asking Winnie to hide her authentic self? Absolutely. I did love that the entire family was looking into therapy at the end of the story. Positive mental health representation is a winner for me as a reader.

As an educator, I would find it very interesting to explore this title with a group of students.



Expected Publication o2/04/24
Goodreads Review 26/04/24
WinnieNashIsNotYourSunshine #NetGalley

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Winnie Nash may not be my sunshine, but she is the hero we need right now. What a book. I am so glad it exists. While, this book isn’t perfect, it is so, so, so good. I can’t thank Net Galley enough for the ARC.

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In this sweet middle-grade reader, Winnie Nash is working through her sexuality, her relationship with her parents, her mother's pregnancy (and past miscarriages), and attempting to make friends while living in her grandmother's retirement community for the summer. It's a lot to say the least. Melleby manages to weave these dramatic themes together in a digestible way for younger readers and proudly demonstrates a heroine who wants nothing more than to be her best self.

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I was excited to find another sapphic MG book. This one definitely fell into the coming of age category and dealt with some difficult topics like miscarriages, depression, neglect, and homophobia.

I loved the voice. Winnie was very relatable, and I just wanted to give the girl a big hug and assure her she mattered and that everything would be okay. Maria, Winnie’s godmother, unofficial aunt, and the best friend of Winnie’s mother, was wonderful and the clear MVP of the story. I wish that every LGBTQ+ kid had a Maria to take them to their first Pride and offer them unconditional love and support. I also liked Winnie’s new friends, Pippa and Lucía, and the elderly Jeanne from book club who clearly was doing her best to help out a queer kid in a bad situation. Even Grandma grew on me when her true colors were finally shown.

Fair warning: Winnie’s parents were infuriating, since their obsession with trying to have a second child completely blinded them to the needs of the child they already had. The turmoil they put Winnie through was heartbreaking. While I can understand Winnie’s mother struggling to be present while dealing with depression, miscarriages, and a high risk pregnancy, Winnie’s father had no valid excuse to not pick up the slack and be there for Winnie. Forcing their lesbian daughter into the closet so they could send her to live with a grandmother they believed to be homophobic for the summer was unforgivable in my eyes. Not only was traumatic for Winnie, it could have put her safety at risk. The story also never explained why Winnie couldn’t stay with friends or Maria, go to summer school or summer camp, or even stay home alone some of the time since she was twelve.

Things do turn out mostly all right in the end. Winnie ends up forging strong relationships with her new friends and grandmother. There’s also the promise of more openness from Winnie’s parents along with possible family therapy, but I felt that was too little, too late considering everything they put Winnie through.

I received an advanced copy from the publisher and am voluntarily leaving this review

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Thank you NetGalley, Algonquin Young Readers, and Nicole Melleby for the opportunity to read this e-ARC!

Winnie is sent to stay with her grandma for the summer against her wishes. Her parents need some time to figure things out while her mom is pregnant...again. Winnie is bottling up a lot -- she's gay (and her dad doesn't think she should tell grandma) and her parents haven't really explained to her what's been happening with her mom and all her pregnancies (and that dark time when her mom never came out of her room). Winnie feels a strong pull to go to New York's Pride parade and to finally feel supported. Will Winnie's summer be everything she needs it to be?

This book is great for middle grade readers. It tackles some sensitive topics like depression and miscarriages, but in a way that young readers can empathize with (from Winnie's perspective she's left in the dark and she has a lot of questions and a lot of big feelings that she doesn't know what to do with).

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Winnie Nash is being sent to live with her grandma all summer and being forced by her parents to stay in the closet. Winnie's mom has been trying for years to have another baby, but has never carried one successfully to term, and often ends up depressed as a result. Winnie is determined to save her smiles and laughter so her mom can have them instead.

This book showed the importance of having a community. Winnie feels like she doesn't have anybody she can truly depend on. Her parents are incredibly focused on her mom's pregnancy, she's not allowed to be honest with her grandma about the fact that she's a lesbian or what's really going on with her parents, and she's surrounded by old people who aren't all glad she's around. She does eventually meet two new friends, but struggles with the fact that her parents told her to keep her troubles within the family only within the family. I'm surprised the parents never realized how harmful it was for them to tell Winnie that she couldn't talk about what was going on with her to anybody outside of her parents, who didn't pay much attention to her anyway. Her mom's friend Maria was great and Winnie is lucky she has somebody like that in her life.

I do think that the mom was incredibly selfish for never once thinking that maybe her constant stream of miscarriages and depression would have a negative impact on the child that she already had and was failing. Hopefully Winnie will be able to forgive her.

CW: miscarriage, blood, hospital, depression, mild bullying, mention of death of a spouse due to illness,

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Winnie Nash is Not Your Sunshine is another genius novel written by Nicole Melleby. Nicole’s books have been fantastic in the past and this was no exception. Winnie was such an interesting character to follow throughout the book and I loved seeing her relationships develop throughout the novel with her grandmother, new friends, and parents. I think the book does really well with describing the pressure a kid can faced when not being their truth self and having to keep secrets as well as dealing with the pressure to be positive and happy even when you are not. It reminded me a
lot of Inside Out to be honest. I’m conclusion, Winnie Nash is Not Your Sunshine is a great middle grade read especially on June and I can’t recommend it enough.

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This book! This author!!! I’m so excited to check out Nicole’s backlist after reading Winnie’s story.

Winnie is staying with her grandma for the summer at her senior city community in New Jersey… where she finds her self in bookclubs and even giving Canasta a try with the seniors! But Winnie has secrets that are starting to take a toll on Winnie… especially when she meets new friends and is getting more comfortable with her grandmother.

This book dives into great discussions… miscarriage within a family, depression and the importance of of queer community. I found this one to be a breath of fresh air in the MG genre. A great pick for summer reading!

Thank you Algonquin Young Readers
Releases 4/2

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