Jett Jamison and the Secret Storm
by Kimberly Behre Kenna
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Pub Date 03 Aug 2023 | Archive Date 30 Jun 2023
Content warning: This book contains mentions of sexual assault and depicts the traumatic aftermath of these events. While written thoughtfully and gently (with younger readers in mind), we know many readers appreciate a heads up on this subject matter.
In a starred review of Kimberly Behre Kenna’s debut novel, “Artemis Sparke and the Sound Seekers Brigade” (Regal House/Fitzroy), Foreword praised Kenna’s ability to write “a courageous, passionate, and observant heroine who is vivified by her emotional complexity.” The second book in her Brave Girls Collection, “Jett Jamison and the Secret Storm” (Black Rose Writing) is no exception. Following a pre-teen who is battling her town’s book censorship along with a secret personal trauma, the story celebrates speaking up while honoring the messy, difficult journey to finding one’s voice.
About the book: Sixth-grader Jett Jamison can’t catch a break. Her home in small town Wisteria is noisy as a zoo, and her mind buzzes with bits of a traumatic memory she’d rather forget. She’s filled a shoebox with one hundred thirty-three to-do lists, her roadmaps to peace, but they only lead to dead ends. Sister Gia, master gardener and cat-whisperer extraordinaire, suggests a book by an anonymous author, but it’s disappeared from all local libraries, and nobody wants to talk about it. Enraged at the injustice, Jett continues to dig for answers and is drawn into a censorship battle with a high-profile radio host. Her peaceful protest backfires big time, and the town goes berserk. Now, for peace to be within reach, Jett must either face up to her past or remain forever bound by silence much more suffocating than the din in Wisteria.
A Note From the Publisher
“Readers will love the memorable and realistic cast of characters in this tale of a sixth-grader’s journey to discover the mystery of a suppressed library book. Along the way, she will discover answers to the difficult storm brewing inside herself, as well as find her voice to advocate for both. Jett is a brave, compelling character, and this novel is an engaging and inspiring take on a sensitive topic. An important read!”
–Sonja K. Solter, award-winning author of When You Know What I Know
“Jett Jamison has a secret—a deeply painful one. She also has determination, a strong sense of justice, and a wide open heart that will have young readers glued to her side and rooting for her as she works to stop a censorship campaign against a book she knows she needs to read in order to heal. With bravery, beautiful writing, and just the right amount of restraint, Kimberly Behre Kenna has opened the door for a crucial and overdue conversation about sexual abuse and survival for middle grade readers. More than twenty years ago, teenagers were given the gift of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak. Now, finally, pre-teens have this stunning and necessary book.”
– Ona Gritz, author of August or Forever
"Kenna has done that rare and wonderful magic trick of immersing the reader into the psyche of a tender tween soul in crisis without any dissembling or subterfuge. The story breathes with subtle and deft nuances of insight and feeling… The reader of any age enters into Jett's world of pitfalls and trauma from the first page, though they quickly learn that Jett is no frozen victim: she's a fighter, a detective, and when it counts the most, a trailblazer. The town of Wisteria can be found in Anywhere, America... This unassuming but also unabashed book will do wonders for the heart and spirit of young people grappling with silence where an open conversation could change their lives forever."
–JR Potter, award-winning teen mystery author of Thomas Creeper and the Gloomsbury Secret
“Sixth-grader Jett Jamison relies on carefully curated lists and schedules to protect her from the stress of a chaotic family life and the jumbled fragments of a disturbing memory. But an unexpected friendship and a mysterious book challenge Jett’s beliefs about the value of predictability and order and embolden her to face those who have silenced her and others. Kimberly Behre Kenna tackles a difficult subject with the perfect balance of honesty and hope in her portrayal of a courageous and relatable heroine whose observations about herself and the world sparkle.”
–Linda B. Davis, MSW, author of Food Fight