Cover Image: Just Lizzie

Just Lizzie

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This book was lovely. It was so cool to read her beautiful stormy about realizing who she is. I thought it was so cool that she realized she was asexual by doing a science project! Overall, just an amazing book that I would one thousand percent recommend.

Was this review helpful?

Lizzie’s life is turned upside-down when her family is forced to move from her childhood home after an incident with their neighbor. To make matters worse, Lizzie’s brother is at college now and her best friend is more interested in kissing boys than hanging out. Lizzie doesn’t know how to handle all these changes or the intense loneliness she feels. But maybe her 8th grade science project will change that.

Lizzie's story is one that both young and old ace people will relate to. Wilfrid does a wonderful job capturing the range of emotions that come with being an asexual middle schooler. So much so that it made me cry multiple times! This book shows how important community and connections are. I also loved that Wilfrid put resources in the back of the book, it's a really nice touch that encourages readers on their own journey of figuring out who they are.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to HarperCollins Children's Books, Clarion Books and Netgalley for this E-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Just Lizzie is a contemporary middle grade novel following our title character as she navigates the challenges of moving house, maintaining friendships, and shifting family dynamics. Also, she doesn't understand why everyone around her seems so interested in relationships and crushes and flirting. As Lizzie digs deeper, she discovers that the word "asexual" can be applied to humans and not just plants! Cool beans!

This is a novel I wish I had back in middle school; I'm so happy kids will get the chance to read this and see themselves in Lizzie's story.

Wonderful storytelling, a relatable protagonist, and THE ACE REP!


Was this review helpful?

This book changed me. Lizzie is such a sweet and thoughtful protagonist. Her journey of self-discovery is a relatable one regardless of sexuality.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you Netgalley for providing this ARC!
Just Lizzie is everything. I find there are rarely books that center on an identity of Asexuality/Aromanticism and I just loved that this will be in the hands of teens at an age who might just really need something to click with their experience.
Lizzie also had to deal with trauma surrounding an intruder, learning to defend herself, work through friendship weirdness, work through missing her older brother while he’s at college, and work through dealing with a parent that maybe doesn’t really “see you.”
This book really packs a punch and I’m so grateful it exists 🖤

Was this review helpful?

I liked this book a lot. It shows why talking about asexuality (and lgbtqia+ things in general) is so importnant.
It can help people understand themselves, and feel less different and alone

Was this review helpful?

Just Lizzie by Karen Wilfrid


“I knew that asexuality was a real thing, and I knew that what I was feeling was real. But something about hearing her say, ‘sure, I can understand that’, was like a lightning bolt to my core. If I want to be the way I am in the world, then more people need to know that the way I am exists. More people need to know that ‘asexual’ is a way to be.”

1-line synopsis: 14 y/o Lizzie has never felt crushes and attraction the way her friends have started to, and her science project about asexual plant reproduction ends up helping her learn so much about why that is.
(swipe for full synopsis)

Just Lizzie was a wonderful book, and I am so happy to see more and more books about asexuality appearing for the younger readers out there. This story was a nuanced look into the life of middle schoolers who, on top of struggling with family issues, fights with friends, and growing up, are having a difficult time understanding who they are and what their futures will look like.

The author, Karen Wilfrid, is a middle-school teacher, and she was able to really nail that awkward, young teen experience. Karen says in the author’s note that a huge part of why she wrote this book is so that her own students can know that she is asexual herself and that they can feel safe talking to her if they feel the same way, and that really touched my heart.

The adult characters in this book were varied and messy and human, and I think that made the story feel authentic. Lizzie has a deeply disappointing experience when she tells 2 of the most important people in her life that she is asexual, and while it hurt to read, it is an experience that many of us on the ace spectrum have been through. On the flip side, Lizzie also finds validation and support in the most unexpected of people, and I think that can really show youth feeling the same way as Lizzie that it can be worth putting yourself out there.

On top of learning that she’s asexual, Lizzie is also coping with a traumatic event that she and her mother experienced, which forced her family to move across town. Lizzie grapples with the fear she is feeling, and she even takes a self-defense course to try and feel more secure in herself. A recurring point made in Just Lizzie is that YOU are *not* responsible for someone assaulting you, and that’s a message that young people will need to continue to hear indefinitely.

📝strong story? ⭐️
🤷🏻compelling characters? ⭐️
✍🏻enjoyable writing style? ⭐️
❤️‍🔥did it give me ✨the feels✨? ⭐️
👍🏻recommend? ⭐️

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️(5/5 stars)

Was this review helpful?

I love reading books where I feel seen. There's not a ton of ace rep out there and I wish this had existed for me when I was in middle school.

Was this review helpful?

There has been such wonderful growth in Middle Grade queer / trans literature in recent years, and with Just Lizzie, Karen Wilfrid has created a beautiful and truly, I believe, life-changing, and even life-saving work of art. As evidenced by her end of book author's note, Wilfrid writes the story of Lizzie, a girl learning for the first time that asexual (and aromantic) identities don't just exist, but are entirely valid and wonderful ways of existing, as only someone who has been in her shoes could. The experiences of my high school self, from wondering if someone was wrong with me when my friends talked about wanting to have sex, to discovering asexuality & the AVEN forums online, to being told that it was a phase or that I would change my mind when the right person came along, to having the very identity questioned and invalidated by a teacher I trusted are all portrayed within this book. To the young reader who sees themselves in these pages for perhaps the first time, Just Lizzie will be a marvel. And even for those who aren't asexual or aromantic, Just Lizzie is a compelling novel with a wonderful protagonist who you can't help but root for.

Was this review helpful?

This book was a really cute middle grade novel about asexuality and coming into your identities as a teenager when people are supposed to “grow up” into sexual attraction. Lizzie does her science project on asexuality in plants and relates to not wanting to have a partner. Since she is studying asexuality in plants and animals she decides to learn if that’s a thing in humans. While asexuality is different in humans, it’s a very real identity that Lizzie really comes into. Lizzie has an amazing group of people around her who are doing their best to support her, even if they don’t know how to do that yet. I loved this book and thought it was really sweet.

This book deals with some acephobia, has an attack, and deals with teenage sexuality.

Was this review helpful?

Lizzie is a thirteen year old girl experiencing a lot of change in her life, her family's move, her brother going to college, her uncertainty of her friendship with her best friend. While researching for a capstone project she discovers asexual reproduction in the plant and animal world and the more she learns, the more she wonders if this is finally an explanation for why she has felt so different from her peers.

The relationships Lizzie has with her family and friends are as big a focus of the story as her discovery of asexuality and I like the way we see her navigate them throughout the story. Lizzie's story was very relatable for me in a lot of ways and I hope that stories like this can maybe give answers to teens and pre-teens that I wish I'd had at that age.

In the author's note Wilfrid makes a point of acknowledging that there is no one way to be asexual and that there are other identities that can come in to play as well as things like class, race, gender identity, religion, etc that can change how someone might experience asexuality.

I was given an arc both as an ebook and as an audiobook with an automated narrator and I spent an even amount of time with both and both were an enjoyable experience. I will admit that the audiobook was just a tad bit funnier though if only because in one scene Lizzie receives a text with a keyboard smash and the automated voice tried to sound it out. I listened to that about ten times and was immensely entertained.

Thank you to NetGalley for making this available in exchange for an honest review!

Was this review helpful?

Lizzie is a middle schooler living through some of the biggest changes and hardest situations in her life: a neighbor breaking into their home, having to move, friends constantly changing, and Lizzie trying to figure out who she is on her own.

Just Lizzie is a book that follows Lizzie through all of this and her discovery and understanding of her identity as being ace. It is a fairly quick read, though I recommend keeping content warnings in mind (aphobia, harassment, home invasion, some body dysmorphia are the main ones coming to mind).

I think my main criticism of the book is that, as one of the characters mentioned, asexuality in plants/animals ≠ human asexuality, however the book is told from the perspective of a 13/14 year old who is herself learning all of this as the book progresses.

I think it was really great to see how Lizzie's thoughts and ideas changed as her knowledge grew, and there was a lot of stuff that gets spoken about in ace circles that was addressed in the book. Seeing growth in not just the main character, but also in those surrounding her as they also start to learn and change the way they act was fantastic. The relationship shown between Lizzie and her mom was also great, and quite frank that we can't always predict how others will react and sometimes they won't understand and sometimes they'll start to learn.

For a book targeted at a younger audience, I think it was fantastic to see everything so bluntly laid out, including Lizzie's thoughts. There are not all that many ace characters out there (and a lot people promote are either not actually stated as ace or the book is romance centric), so to not only see so much about a person discovering their identity, but also something for younger people to look at? It's nothing short of exciting. On top of that, the author includes resources in the back as well as a personal note about her own journey and how for adults to best respond to someone coming out.

Was this review helpful?

Just Lizzie by Karen Wilfrid was an insightful, heartfelt story of a 14-year-old girl, Lizzie, coming to accept and understand her asexuality. Lizzie, understands she is asexual, and wants other people to understand what it is as well, so she designs as presentation about how some plants and animals reproduce asexually. But will she have the courage to give the presentation? I loved Lizzie. My daughter is ACES (asexual) and it helped me to understand what her life might have been like during her adolescence. A great and necessary book.

Was this review helpful?

I think it is a good idea to have children's books represent people of all genders and sexualities. I think around the time Lizzie's age is when there is a more understanding of it and that's when this book was written in.

Was this review helpful?

I wish I had this book when I was in eighth grade. Lizzie is a sweet and relatable protagonist whom I just want to give the biggest hug. This book details the experience of Lizzie: a thirteen year old girl who discovers her asexuality. I hardly ever see asexual representation, let alone at the middle-grade level. I'm so happy that this book will exist and that a generation of young people can have the language to describe themselves. This book was incredible and I cannot wait for its release.

Was this review helpful?

Just Lizzie was an adorable look at Asexuality and the feelings of a middle schooler struggling to find her place in the world. If readers enjoyed Alice Oseman's Loveless Just Lizzie is a perfect stepping stone for a younger audience. For the young readers who are struggling with sexuality Lizzie is a great character for them to latch on to and understand what they are going through is okay and not everybody feels romantic or sexual attraction.

Was this review helpful?

This is the first middle grade book I've read with an asexual main character! I love to see it. We need more of that rep in this genre and YA. There were also other queer characters. I loved Lizzie's story and think many queer kids will find solace in it. There was also a funny part towards the end that shows you're not as alone as you think. This also had an important message for young girls about learning self-defense and empathy for others.

Was this review helpful?

Nice read, I liked the themes and appreciated the general message. It will be especially valuable to younger readers. I can recommend this for sure.

Was this review helpful?

I really liked this and will definitely recommend it! I think Lizzie was a great character who will make a lot of kids feel seen, and I liked how Wilfrid really doesn't talk down to kids in her writing.

Was this review helpful?

Lizzie is an eighth grade girl who is dealing with changing friendships, annoying boys, and a traumatic event that happened to her family. Because of this encounter, the family moved to another neighborhood in town. Her older brother is leaving for college and her childhood friend has been drifting more to the “popular” crowd. On top of this, Lizzie feels disconnected to the conversations of peers revolving around crushes. When a science project introduces her to other sexualities, she begins exploring what that might mean for her. There is a strong theme of change happening in the external plot of this book as people and circumstances around her seem to be changing, making her feel alone.

This is a book that is going to help a lot of people, whether they are the same age as Lizzie or discovering their sexuality at a later part in life. Asexuality is such a broad topic and identity that can encompass many different things. The author notes in the back of the book that she wasn’t able to provide all the information she would’ve liked to, but encouraged doing more research. But I think Wilfrid did do a good job of introducing some misconceptions that people have about asexuality like that asexual people can’t have partners.

She talked about everything in very age-appropriate ways, in language that middle school
kids use. I appreciated that she also talked about sex and periods in a very straightforward way. Many middle grade books don’t cover those topics. But they are things that many kids that age are thinking about. Wilfrid shows healthy ways of discussing it, like with parents, older siblings, and other trusted adults.

Most of all, I liked the way that the author encourages readers that it is okay to not have all the answers or labels. Self discovery is an ongoing process that can change and grow over time. Lizzie is anxious during a lot of this book about “what” she is and if she’s “normal” enough. But we end with her in a really healthy place of acceptance and realizing the interconnectedness of her own life, whether or not she feels romantic or sexual feelings. She is not alone.

(Thank you to the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.)

Was this review helpful?