A Good Kind of Trouble  

A Good Kind of Trouble

Lisa Moore Ramee

HarperCollins/Balzer Bray, 2019

Plot Summary

Twelve-year-old Shayla is allergic to trouble. All she wants to do is to follow the rules. (Oh, and she’d also like to make it through seventh grade with her best friendships intact, learn to run track, and have a cute boy see past her giant forehead.)

But in junior high, it’s like all the rules have changed. Now she’s suddenly questioning who her best friends are and some people at school are saying she’s not black enough. Wait, what?

Shay’s sister, Hana, is involved in Black Lives Matter, but Shay doesn't think that's for her. After experiencing a powerful protest, though, Shay decides some rules are worth breaking. She starts wearing an armband to school in support of the Black Lives movement. Soon everyone is taking sides. And she is given an ultimatum.

Shay is scared to do the wrong thing (and even more scared to do the right thing), but if she doesn't face her fear, she'll be forever tripping over the next hurdle. Now that’s trouble, for real.


School Library Journal (1 January 2020) Gr. 4-8 “In the midst of the typical middle school angst, a not guilty verdict in a case concerning a police officer shooting an African American man is announced and Shayla begins to relate to the Black Lives Matter movement in a way she never has before.”

Booklist (1 June 2019) Gr. 5-8 “The captivating protagonist likes to avoid trouble, wishing only to hang out with her two best friends, catch the eye of a boy crush, and excel at running track. However, when her eyes become open to the racial injustices in both her community and her very own school, she becomes a Black Lives Matter activist.”

Kirkus Reviews (12 March 2019) Fiction 8-12 “Trouble follows, bringing with it important lessons about friendship and courage. Awkward, endearing, and memorable, Shayla navigates the world of middle school and the troubled world beyond with wit and endless heart. A timely, funny, and unforgettable debut about friendship, facing your fears, and standing up for what's right.”

Horn Book Magazine (1 March 2019) “Shayla’s first-person account is honest and relatable as she tries to do the right thing by her peers, her school community, and herself. The protagonist’s emotional and civic maturation is believably portrayed, and as her understanding of the Black Lives Matter movement clarifies and deepens, so does the reader’s.”


The Amelia Bloomer Book List, 2020

BCALA Children and Youth Literary Awards, 2021

Kirkus Best Books - 2019

SLJ Best Books - 2019

NPR’s Book Concierge - 2019

The Walter Awards Honoree Younger Readers Category - 2020



Black Experiences: Affirmation and Resilience, Activism and Resistance in 45 Books for PreK-Grade 12, 2022

Top 10 #OwnVoices Middle-Grade Novels: 2019

Social Justice: Fifteen titles to address inequity, equality, and organizing for young readers, 2020

This List is Anti-Racist, 2020

Response to challenges

Henrico parent withdraws request for review of youth novel: “withdrew his or her request on Tuesday after the process had been underway for more than three months.”

If you don’t like a book or it’s contents, don’t ban it, just don’t read it: “Remember when we were told, if you don’t like a TV show or movie, DON’T WATCH IT? Well, the same holds true with books. If you DON’T like a book, DON’T READ IT!”

Disclaimer* It was difficult to locate resources that responded to challenge for this title.

Reference list

American Library Association. (2020, February 6). A Good Kind of Trouble. American Library Association. https://www.ala.org/awardsgrants/good-kind-trouble

A Good Kind of Trouble. (2020). Book Connections. Retrieved July 11, 2022, from https://www.bookconnections.org/tb.cgi?tid=62104#Resources

A Good Kind of Trouble. (2020). Booklist. Retrieved July 11, 2022, from https://web.p.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail/detail?vid=2&sid=a72ef32d-4a07-445b-8154

-12c4159a00dc%40redis&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=137121568& db=f6h

A Good Kind of Trouble. (2018, November 18). Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved July 11, 2022, from https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/lisa-moore-ramee/a-good-kind-of-trouble


Anderson, Kristin. L. (2019, February 1). A Good Kind of Trouble. School Library Journal. https://www.slj.com/review/a-good-kind-of-trouble

Black Caucus of the American Library Association. (2021, July 15). BCALA and School Library Journal Announce the 2021 Children and Youth Literary Awards Winners. Black Caucus of the American Library Association.

https://www.bcala.org/bcala-and-school-library-journal-announce-the-2021-children-an d-youth-literary-awards-winners

Brain Lair Books. (2020). This List is Anti-Racist. Book Shop. https://bookshop.org/lists/this-list-is-anti-racist

Bryson, Anna. (2022, May 4). Henrico parent withdraws request for review of youth novel.

Henrico Citizen.



Cooperative Children's Book Center. (2020, June). Black Experiences: Affirmation and Resilience, Activism and Resistance in 45 Books for PreK-Grade 12. Booklists. https://ccbc.education.wisc.edu/booklists/?booklistId=1

Donovan, Patrick. (2022, February 2). If you don’t like a book or it’s contents, don’t ban it, just don’t read it. The Hollywood Times.

https://thehollywoodtimes.today/if-you-dont-like-a-book-or-its-contents-dont-ban-it-jus t-dont-read-it/

Kirkus. (2019). Best Fiction Books of the Year. Kirkus Reviews. https://www.kirkusreviews.com/best-of/2019/

Njoku, Eboni. (2019, April 2). A Good Kind of Trouble. Horn Book Magazine.https://web.p.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail/detail?vid=3&sid=a72ef32d-4a07-445b-8154-12c4159a00dc%40redis&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=134880276& db=f6h

Smith, Julia. (2019, April 15). Top 10 #OwnVoices Middle-Grade Novels: 2019. Booklists. https://www.booklistonline.com/Top-10-OwnVoices-Middle-Grade-Novels-2019-Julia-S mith/pid=9718191

Worley, Taylor. (2020, March 5). Social Justice: Fifteen titles to address inequity, equality, and organizing for young readers. School Library Journal. https://www.slj.com/story/great-books-social-justice-middle-grade


Book Resume created by Virginia Library Association and PDSAL