WHAT MOMMA LEFT ME, by Renee Watson, Bloomsbury


Rediscover Newbery Honor- and Coretta Scott King Author Award-winner Renée Watson’s heart-rending debut, about one girl’s journey to reconnect to joy.

Serenity is good at keeping secrets, and she’s got a whole lifetime’s worth of them. Her mother is dead, her father is gone, and starting life over at her grandparents’ house is strange. Luckily, certain things seem to hold promise: a new friend who makes her feel connected, and a boy who makes her feel seen. But when her brother starts making poor choices, her friend is keeping her own dangerous secret, and her grandparents put all of their trust in a faith that Serenity isn’t sure she understands, it is the power of love that will repair her heart and keep her sure of just who she is.

Renée Watson’s stunning writing shines in this powerful and ultimately uplifting novel.

Out January 8, 2019

240 pages approx.


I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

Wow! I can see how this author has won the Newberry Honor.

This is a tough book to digest.  It’s hard-hitting and emotional and its impact is definitely a kick to the gut.  Being thirteen was the hardest time for me and Serenity is going through one of the worse times of her life.

I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like to live knowing your father murdered your mother. So as Serenity struggles daily with being a new teenager, while worrying about her brother who seems to be headed down the same path as their father, she also has this horrific past event to struggle with.

This is a thought-provoking, complicated read laid out perfectly for a younger readership but it also should appeal to adults who want to read realistic fiction based on life situations.  Bring tissues.

This book could also appeal to young YA readers too.  There are some explicit areas that should be a bit breath taking and a way of life described that some will have a hard time navigating through, but the end is having read a book showing courage, strength and emotional wellness.

I gave it:


five star rating

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