Member Reviews

I don’t know how to rate this book. Greta, an eighth grader unsure of if she’s ready for everything that comes with being an eighth grader, experiences a trauma that leaves her changed. I like the imagery and the metaphor. I do not like that there is no real talk of grief or support or of the trauma at all. I would hesitate to hand this to a middle grades (or even a YA) reader without knowing whether or not there would be someone there to talk it through with them.

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Our main character is Greta Goodwin and she has a LOT on her mind. She lives with her mom, dad, and little brother, Jeff also known as Fej. The family is in the process of moving to a new home and Greta is completely reluctant. After all the new neighborhood far away from her best friend Lotti.

Coming of age, Greta, doesn't quite feel ready for middle school. It means boys, bras, and more work than she's used to in her daily life.

Greta attends her first middle school party with loyal friend Lotti by her side. She's more than a little surprised when a boy pays a lot of attention to her. That surprise turns into discomfort as what initially feels good suddenly feels invasive, wrong and violated.
The theme of the story is growth and change, sometimes painful, and in a small way, loss of innocence and becoming more aware of the dangers that can confront young girls. Greta feels herself growing stronger and more able to deal with teasing and ostracizing, and even LOUDLY AND PUBLICLY defends her friend Lotti when she is called names by some cruel peers.



To me this was a really good story until it bridged into wired fantasy, bur I think middle grade female readers will really enjoy the story f they don’t mind a fantastical ending.

To me this was a really good story until it bridged into weird fantasy, bur I think middle grade female readers will really enjoy the story f they don’t mind a fantastical ending.

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When I was in the middle grade range, I wish I'd had this book. Greta is a very important book and talks about this situation with a Kafska-esque style and twist which I love for readers in this age range.

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Greta was a good book, though I was not the intended audience. I wanted a more concrete ending, with something 'resolved', but that's not how life works, and I believe that's the point of the book.

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I was intrigued by the cover of this book, that is the main factor that caused me to read it. I am a fan of middle grade books for light and relaxing reading between nonfiction or more difficult reads. I was a bit hesitant of how the author would handle the sexual assault scenes but it was not triggering or upsetting. However, I didn't like that Greta never told an adult or anyone what happened to her and she wasn't able to overcome her feelings of being wrong or feeling gross in her own body. The way that the aftermath of the situation was handled was a little bit confusing to me and maybe not the best way to explain it to children because Greta turned into someone different and only then was she able to feel comfortable in her skin again. I think a better ending to this book would be if Greta talked to her parents and having some consequences for Derek. This would show young girls that speaking up is the right thing to do.

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Thank you to NetGalley for providing this book for review in exchange for an honest review!

This was one of those ARCs that I was thrilled to learn would be on shelves at my library come release date. The story has made the topics of consent and sexual assault more digestible for middle grade readers. Not only that, it shares the really real challenges of being someone in middle school and growing into that new phase of adolescence.

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Such a cute book for kids, it is good for learning about transformation. It was written beautifully and it will be great for kids.

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What a sweet and inspirational book this is for both kids and adults young at heart! It's lovely to read and full of beautiful storytelling of coming of age. I plan to get a copy for my nieces.
Thank you to the author and NetGalley for a copy of this arc.

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A powerful book about transformation, growing up, puberty, and consent.

I am unsure how to rate this. I adored Greta and felt for her greatly - a middle school aged girl who was not ready for all the things that come with middle school, including body changes, unwanted attention from others, and peer pressure. When she's assaulted by a classmate at a party, she begins to transform.

This part of the book was fascinating. Magical realism mixed with fantasy, as Greta sheds her skins and starts to morph into a body that is noticeable but one she feels comfortable in, even with orange and green skin. It's a magical way of showing how adolescents change during these middle school years ... and how sometimes it feels like shedding of one's skin and growing wings.

I liked the book and think it's a valuable and important one for kids. But I didn't really get the ending and think it might be a little confusing for tween readers. Still, it's a powerful message and the imagery really brings the message home in a unique and creative way.

Recommended for ages 10+.

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♡𝐞𝐀𝐫𝐜 𝐑𝐞𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐰♡
4 🌟
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𝐓𝐫𝐨𝐩𝐞𝐬 :
•ya
•middle school
•coming of age
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This coming of age middle school book called Greta is J.S. Lemon's debut. I highly recommend for a child that in the middle school. Greta Goodwin's life is changing, moving to a new neighborhood away from her best friend Lotti, and also the fact she is starting middle school. Greta is like the majority of young girls who are about to start middle school and are not ready for her body to change and for boys to start to pay attention to her. This a great coming of age book.
♡𝐑𝐞𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐞 September.10♡
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Thank you, Netgalley, and Macmillan Children's Publishing Group for the (eArc)-eBook for my honest review.

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Greta’s life is changing in many ways. She’s starting middle school, preparing to move to a new neighborhood, and her body’s, well, not quite as advanced as some of her classmates, but oh well. When she attracts the attention of a boy at her first middle-grades party, she feels like she fits in. But then something happens that she can’t quite make sense of, let alone talk about. What follows is something I did not see coming.

I feel like this book would make for a powerful conversation starter for students on the topics of sexual harassment and consent. There are not many books on this topic, so this would be a perfect addition to any library.

I did struggle a bit with some of the symbolism in the book. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but while I enjoyed and found some of it really interesting and unique, the ending left me a little frustrated. While it may make for good conversation, it left me unsatisfied and I would be curious to hear what the author’s intentions were with how it wrapped up.

Thank you to J.S. Lemon, Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group and NetGalley for an advance e-copy of the book for an honest review.

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I requested this because the premise sounded so interesting for a children's book and it was a good read. It's a simple yet interesting story with elements of magical realism that explores sexual assault in a way that's age-appropriate and can spark conversations about consent and trauma. The story is enjoyable, so I see the intended audience engaging with this very easily and then getting even more out of it through guided discussion in the classroom.

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I wanted to cradle Greta so many times, and I wish someone had held her safely. I wish she’d talked to an adult, I wish she’d tried to get justice, but victims don’t always speak up or can’t always speak up, so Greta grew and evolved. She became someone who loved the body she was in and who could no longer be harmed. And I love that for her.

Some of the writing didn’t hit quite right for me, mostly in certain word choices, and it’s hard to explain it. Just like they didn’t sound quite thirteen? It’s such a hit or miss around that age, idk why

But on the other hand, some writing punched me in the face, especially the mother. Obsessed with her appearances and therefore her daughter’s appearance as an extension of herself. Lotti considering Greta beautiful at all stages. This line: “God forbid I was an angry girl; there’s even a word for girls who show their anger. And no one wants to be called one of those.”

This book was kinda exactly what I expected and also not at all what I was expecting. I’m not sure if it actually works as middle grade fiction, but I really did enjoy it.

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This feels like such a difficult book to review. On the one hand, middle grade books about sexual assault are RARE and are definitely needed more, because this kind of stuff does happen to kids around this age, and I think GRETA handles that topic well. On the other…I don’t know, something was just missing for me. Overall it was well-written, Lemon captures the middle-school girl angst remarkably well, and the topic was well-handled. But SOMETHING was missing and I’m not sure what. Maybe it could’ve benefited from being longer? More fleshed out with the metamorphosis stuff? Because it almost felt like the first half of the book was well-developed and drawn out, and then the second half was way too rushed, like someone put a cap on the word count or something.

I don’t know, I liked it well enough, but overall it just fell flat for me.

That’s not to say I wouldn’t recommend it, though—fans of Pixar’s TURNING RED who want a heavier theme will love this.

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The book started out well but felt really undeveloped at the end. At first, it felt reminiscent of "Are You There God..." in the body shaming and rumors and then "Speak" in the assault at the party. Once her transformation started, the plot needed more development so that the message was clearer to the readers. At the end I was left wondering what happened next for her parents and friends and what was the reasoning behind her change.

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A sweet coming-of-age story about a young girl who experiences some of the things we all do growing up, and some very unusual things indeed. Greta and her best friend Lotti share a deep bond of friendship, and are joined by their creative friend Astrid in navigating some of the trials and tribulations of middle school - social events, homework, and boys. They feel the thrills of being noticed by someone they like, and then the disappointment and stress when things may not go the way they hoped. One of them is even sexually assaulted by the person she thought was a nice admirer, which coincides with changes that start inside her body but are soon noticeable to everyone.

The theme of the story is growth and change, sometimes painful, and in a small way, loss of innocence and becoming more aware of the dangers that can beset young girls. Greta feels herself growing stronger and more able to deal with teasing and ostracizing, and even defends - loudly - her friend Lotti when she is called names by some cruel peers. While in some ways Greta is finding change hard to deal with, especially the prospect and preparations for the upcoming family move to a larger house, the ways that she adapts and even embraces the visible and invisible changes happening to her body and personality are admirable and engaging.

The language of the book is simple and relatable, and I think middle grade readers will really enjoy the story. Thanks to NetGalley and publisher MacMillan for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

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This was an enjoyable and unexpecting read. But some of the changes that Greta goes through were so unexpected that I didn't see how they related to the plot or inciting incident.

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A 6th grader experiences the transformation of a lifetime.

Greta is about to start 6th grade, which is plenty of change on its own, but her mom is also moving the family to a new home. Greta is more than apprehensive, but at least she has her best friend Lotti to help her get through it all.

Greta experiences something traumatic at an unsupervised party, and between that and all the other changes around her, she finds herself changing inside and outside (well beyond what puberty entails).

The author really captured the voice of a 6th grade girl in this novel. I loved Greta's perspective and it really reminded me of my own middle school experiences. Greta was so funny! The friendship between Greta and Lotti is truly one for the ages. Their friendship was my favorite part of the book.

The magical realism of this book was delightful and quite effective. Although I was confused at first, I think the author reallt brought it home. "Greta" is like a 6th grade girl's "Metamorphosis."

I really enjoyed this book. It was snappy in its pacing, funny, sad, relatable, and bittersweet right at the end.

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"This new skin of mine felt protective and proud and although it wasn’t hard like bones, I felt safe underneath. Now when boys looked at me, or didn’t look at me, I felt powerful. I wasn’t just a collection of body parts waiting for inspection."

When Greta experiences a sexual assault at a party, her relationship with her body changes. It doesn't feel like hers anymore and she doesn't feel safe in it. With a nod to Kafka's Metamorphosis, Greta experiences changes in her body that give her back control as she turns into a moth. I felt sad that she wasn't able to reclaim herself in her own body but the novel also makes it clear that female presenting bodies are always under attack by the male gaze. Her relationship with her friends and family show the contrast of healthy relationships with that of her abuser. A well written novel that will be an important addition to middle school libraries.

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Thanks to NetGalley and Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers for this ARC to review. Greta is a beautifully written, wildly different book for middle grades. It explores the transformation of a 7th grade girl, as she changes into a version of herself she loves more than ever — despite the perils of being different in middle school. Greta’s best friendship with Lotti beautifully captured the bond that can be shared with a “soulmate” of a friend, someone who loves you through all of your changes even when you can’t love yourself. All the “typical” teenage plights are here: mean kids, moving, changing relationships, unwanted attention, the blasé attitude kids have towards forced literature at school…with an added component of dealing with sexual assault and a kafkaesque twist. This book could be just the story some middle schoolers need in order to feel like the world will one day make sense again.

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