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In the Role of Brie Hutchens...

By Nicole Melleby

“A nuanced exploration of how to reconcile faith and identity . . . This funny, tender, and heart-wrenching story will have readers calling for an encore.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Introducing Brie Hutchens: soap opera superfan, aspiring actor, and so-so student.


Brie has big plans for eight grade. But when her mom walks in on her accidentally looking at some possibly inappropriate photos of her favorite actress, Brie sees her dream of attending the performing arts high school falling apart. So she blurts out that she’s been chosen to crown the Mary statue during her Catholic school’s ceremony in May. It’s a giant honor . . . but Brie is totally lying.

The lie works, and Brie’s mom is distracted with pride. Unfortunately, Brie has almost no chance to get the job, which always goes to a top student. Someone like Kennedy, the girl everyone expects to crown Mary. Brie turns to Kennedy for help, but sometimes just looking at her gives Brie butterflies. Juggling confusing feelings with the rapidly approaching May Crowning, Brie tries to figure out how to finally make her mother really see her as she is, before her lies catch up with her.

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Nicole Melleby

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Review quotes
"Melleby paints Brie as a recognizable teen: authentic in her self-centeredness and sympathetic in her attempts to embrace her identity. Brie’s anxiety over her faith, as well as how to come out to her loved ones, is wrenching and genuine in this accomplished, leisurely paced read."
Publishers Weekly, starred review 

“A nuanced exploration of how to reconcile faith and identity. Melleby's clear, honest voice expertly captures the frustration, awkwardness, and fear of being vulnerable—as well as the potential rewards. This funny, tender, and heart-wrenching story will have readers calling for an encore.”
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“The story honestly conveys Brie's confusion about her sexuality, while at the same time, moves plotlines to the next level by also delving into the way the family's Catholicism affects events. Younger teens questioning their sexuality—or faith—will find much to ponder here.”
Booklist

“Chapter openings describing events from soap operas—the one strong interest she shares with her mom—underscore how dramatic the events feel to Brie, as well as the fact that, though she’s realized something new about herself, she’s still the same person.”
The Horn Book

"Her struggles and those of her family seem authentic, their interactions realistic, and Brie’s desire to be really seen and loved for who she is will ring true with many middle school readers."
School Library Journal

“This middle grade book is really a great coming out story. It does not all go smoothly, and Brie has a lot of challenges that she has made for herself, but it's truly heartfelt and genuine. Readers who may be dealing with the same situation will find pieces of themselves in Brie's story. The process is all too real (over and over again) with reactions running the gamut. Brie is passionate and still learning, and her story is overall full of angst and charm… Overall, a captivating and charming middle grade contemporary.”
YA Book Central
Product Details
Age range
10 - 99
Grade range
5 - 5
Categories
Number of pages
272
Publication date
May 04, 2021
ISBN
9781643751320