Cover Image: Winnie Nash Is Not Your Sunshine

Winnie Nash Is Not Your Sunshine

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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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A solid middle grade read that tackles several tough topics.

Winnie is spending the summer with her grandma to help Winnie's parents prepare for the new baby. Although Winnie's parents support her knowing she's gay, her dad tells her not to tell grandma. Winnie is angry at her parents for sending her away and scared that her grandma will reject her if she finds out about Winnie's sexuality. When it looks like Winnie's mom is in danger of losing the baby (again), Winnie has had enough.

I appreciated a lot of things about this book - a messy family trying to figure things out, highlighting miscarriage and depression, the importance of queer community and support in all its forms. The writing is very accessible for a younger audience, and I could absolutely see my kids reading this. I didn't like the way it was never explained why exactly Winnie was sent away in the first place, but I loved the mom's best friend, the grandma and her neighbor, and the two girls Winnie befriends. I also appreciated that the family was looking to therapy by the end instead of going on the way they were. Love the positive mental health rep.

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Winnie Nash is 12 years old and was just sent to spend the summer with her grandmother. On top of that, Winnie has known she likes girls for pretty much her whole life…but her parents have asked her not to tell her grandmother. This book follows Winnie as she makes new friends, and grapples with family dynamics.

This book touches on a lot of important issues, but I think the story line needed a bit more development. There wasn’t really enough context around why Winnie was sent to her grandmother’s house and the dynamics between Winnie and her parents were really troubling to me. Winnie was such an enjoyable character, but ultimately, Winnie’s grandmother and and her new friends Pippa and Lucia were the real stars of this book.

Thank you to NetGalley and Algonquin Young Readers for the ARC.

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Ugghh, this book gave me a lot of feels, but there are a couple things personally keeping me back from loving it more.

Firstly, I adore Winnie and her grandma's relationship. Their progression from near strangers to close loved ones was so sweet. Grandma's patience and kindness to Winnie's struggles throughout the story almost made me cry. It's also no surprise Grandma was never homophobic. She admits not knowing about the LGBTQ+, but it didn't stop her from accepting Winnie as soon as it was found out. She still handled it with so much grace; I just really loved that. The second best part of the book was Winnie's blossoming relationship with Pippa and Lucía, who both are endearing in their own ways.

My biggest grip with the book comes from the parents. They force Winnie to go into the closet for her grandmother, but once it's revealed she wasn't homophobic, they don't explain why they did that. Maybe Winnie's mom didn't know about her mom's friendship with a gay couple, but that's just me speculating. Even if she didn't know, that doesn't excuse forcing Winnie into the closet. Additionally, her mom's explanation for neglecting her daughter's emotional needs felt hollow. She says she had depression from her miscarriages (I also liked that this book plainly used the word 'miscarriages' several times. I appreciate Melleby's bluntness when tackling topics like these), but she really wanted another kid and was willing to keep trying. She even asked Winnie if that was selfish of her, to which Winnie basically answered no to. I personally believe people shouldn't be emotionally neglecting the kid(s) they have in favor for the one that hasn't grown out of the womb yet (I'm also putting equal blame on Winnie's dad, too. He bears responsibility as Winnie's other parent) but I also must acknowledge I haven't experienced pregnancy, much less what Winnie's mom went through. But my feelings were too strong for Winnie to not feel a bit angry on her behalf for her parents' neglect, which is why I personally feel I can't fully love this book.

Overall, this was a good book, but some personal beliefs of mine regarding the handling of the parents held me back from fully enjoying it. I still would wholeheartedly recommend this book, as the relationship between Winnie and her grandma is stellar, and the discussion of miscarriages was done so well here.

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Winnie is unwillingly spending the summer with her grandmother. Winnie has to sleep on the couch, spend her days with her Grandma's senior citizen friends, and worst of all, she's there because her mom and dad are working on some issues at home, without her. Winnie refuses to make the best of the situation, and in fact, refuses to smile for anyone. She has a lot of secrets to keep, and those secrets are wearing on her. The angst of being a pre-teen, who is an excellent observer, but has little control over her own surroundings and life situation is well-portrayed in this middle school novel.

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What a great novel for middle schoolers about LGBTQIA+ issues, and Pride! I loved Winnie's journey, and the fact that she wanted to go to Pride in the first place was amazing! I'm definitely looking forward to being able to recommend this at my library.

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There are so many parts of this book that remind me of other books but it is uniquely it's own story. I enjoyed Winnie's relationship with her grandmother as well as her grandmother's friends. I loved how the people in the retirement community were caring and vibrant and also the backbones of the families.
I appreciated the author showing how Winnie had to hide herself depending upon her surroundings and how it affected her. The stress, exhaustion and worry were very apparent.
This is a book that is relatable for a 12 year old up through college - and maybe beyond.

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I think this would definitely be a popular read in my library. I can see it being picked up by our patrons and being passed around. It may be the hit of the Spring when it comes out!

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Winnie is a likeable character spending the summer with her grandmother. This is the only kids' book with the subject of miscarriage in it that I know of. The whole family dynamic isn't fleshed out enough for me. Winnie's banishment from her home seems too contrived for the author's purpose. And too many things didn't wring true to me.

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I appreciate this youngish main character who is already so sure of who she is and is not struggling with her identity. Her parents, however... they are definitely problematic for me in how they keep, basically, everything from her and leave her to fend for herself with the added burden of forcing her back into the closet. As I expected, Grandma turns out to be the star of this show, with Winnie's quirky new friends running a close second. And don't forget the other senior citizens in Grandma's community - all are great curmudgeons!

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Great coming of age novel about a girl who has known she was gay her entire life. Some of the relationships felt like they could have been developed a bit more, but I loved Winnie and I think a lot of my students would find this story relatable and empowering!

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Winnie Nash does not like canasta so she is forced into a book club while her grandmother plays. Her mom is pregnant again. Winnie's been forced to spend the summer with her grandmother at the beach but she can't talk about her mom and when she's sad or how Winnie likes girls. The more and more she is quiet about who she is, the more she wants to the world to know.

I thought this was a great conversation starter for a middle grader to read. Winnie Nash is going through things but nothing too dark that it kept cloud over everything. I felt like Melleby wrote Winnie as a true 12-year-old and I really loved the idea of being held that was woven throughout the book.

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I enjoyed the story. The characters were easy enough to like and relate to; however, Winnie's relationship with her parents was thin. I found myself filling in gaps of story where there was none.

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This book was really fun to read! Winnie's emotions came through clearly but it wasn't such a sad read, and the other side characters felt relatively well-developed too.

I do wish there were more flashbacks that could have told us more about her parents and what it was like when her mother had any of her miscarriages. I understand the practical and plot-related reasons to not have done this, but I still would have liked to understand more about this aspect of Winnie's life.

I liked the setting of the clubhouse and the light absurdity of this twelve-year-old having nothing better to do than join a book club for elderly people.

Overall, a very sweet, quick read that for me doesn't quite measure up to "How to Become a Planet" but was still very enjoyable.

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Thank you NetGalley for the ARC copy of this book. I really enjoyed this title. I thought it did a nice job creating a story about a LGBTQ+ kid that wasn’t entirely about the oppression they face in the journey to being themselves. A lot of the hardship that Winnie goes through actually has very little to do with her identity and more to do with the adults in her life not doing a good job at listening and being present. The author helps you to realize empathize not only with her Winnies emotions but also her coping mechanisms.
I think this is an excellent book for middle school students to read. It helps to empathize, identify emotions, discuss belonging and learn some skills and strategies for talking to the adults in your life in an honest way. I would certainly try to use aspects of this as part of my curriculum if it wasn’t 2023 and the world wasn’t a dumpster fire when it comes to students/ kids and their identities.
I gave it four stars because the end got a bit cheesy and Hallmark movie to me. The book felt grittier and more real than the ending left us off with. Also, in order to care more about the ending, I think I needed more reflective moments from Winnie about her relationship with her parents before everything shifted. It was missing a feeling of loss. It made me feel like this is what it always was and therefore, I didn’t care much about the resolution with the parents at the end. I wish some of the resolution had been given to the Grandmother and the assumptions made about her throughout the story.

Overall, it was a solid read and a book I really enjoyed. I hope it does well.

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