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July 22 , 2010

Planet Middle School


For twelve years, Joylin Johnson's life has been just fine, thank you very much. A competitive game of basketball with the boys was all it took to put a smile on her face. Baggy jeans, tee shirt, and hair in a ponytail worked great seven days a week. Then, overnight, everything seemed to turn upside down at once. As if the changes to her body weren't bad enough, all the neighborhood "boys" turned into "guys" when she wasn't looking. Who is she to be trying on dresses and batting her eyes to get attention? And why is Joylin powerless to make herself stop?

Between the pratfalls and the heartbreak, Joylin's journey from tomboy to young girl is beautifully told in poems that are alternatively funny, heartbreaking, and insightful. At its close, readers will remember the timeless truth at the center of Joylin's story: the most important kind of love is the love you have for yourself.

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