Little Koya Delaney has a knack for hiding what she truly feels with her infectious laugh that leaves everyone happy — except herself. Koya is upset by an argument that her sister Loritha and her dear friend Dawn had right before a double-dutch jump rope contest. Not sure what to do about the situation, she remains angry with the both of them, and confused by the situation. To further her bad day, her cousin Del, a rock star, comes to visit, and now her attention must be focused on him instead of Loritha and Dawn. When she sees how Del’s fans react to him, she slowly learns how to get in touch with her own emotions. And although she’s still angry with both Loritha and Dawn, she eventually learns how to deal with her feelings, and approach her friends in a mature way.
Author Greenfield writes with candor and sensitivity, beautifully creating strong and credible characters whose struggles with their emotions are realistically portrayed. And although she puts forth several themes in this story — willingness to learn about one’s self, dealing with other people’s emotions, and making friendships work — Greenfield’s seamless construction makes the storyline easy to follow. After reading this, readers may want to talk about how they deal with difficult emotions in sticky situations, why it’s important to tell people how you feel without hurting them, and most importantly, to always be true to yourself.