Louder Than Words

Scholastic. Jun. 2024. 336p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781338875577.
Gr 9 Up–After being expelled from the exclusive private school she’d been attending, Jordyn Jones begins her junior year at a public high school in Washington, D.C. The difference is immediately obvious in the diversity of the students and the lax dress code. Jordyn feels she could fit in there, pursue her love of art, and make a clean start. But on day one, her past is already coming back to haunt her. A mysterious podcaster at the school releases a weekly gossip show, spilling juicy secrets that the targeted students would rather not have revealed. Jordyn’s expulsion is the day’s top story, but luckily, the podcaster doesn’t seem to know any of the details, and she is able to make friends quickly. But trouble seems to find her even when she is trying to do the right thing. First her parents, and then even her new friends are quick to assume the worst. Jordyn never expected starting over to be easy, but wonders, if no one else is willing to give her a chance, how can she ever move beyond her past mistakes? The search for the mysterious podcaster, along with the gradual, but well-timed, reveal of Jordyn’s expulsion keep the story moving in this character-driven novel. It features students of color as well as members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
VERDICT An engaging story about self-esteem and choices that teen girls, especially, will appreciate.

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