Author: Karen Wilfrid
In this beautifully written contemporary middle grade debut, an eighth grader’s study of asexuality in science class leads her to understand her own asexual identity as she embarks on a journey toward self-discovery and self-advocacy. For readers of Alex Gino and Ashley Herring Blake.
There’s the part of me that doesn’t understand kissing or cuteness or attraction, and then there’s the part of me that feels so lonely. How do I make sense of those two parts? Maybe I’ll never make sense of them.
What do you do when there’s a question inside you that feels so big, you don’t know how to put words to it? How do you even begin to ask it? Fourteen-year-old Lizzie is experiencing a lot of change: her family had to move after the incident with their neighbor, leaving behind not only her beloved apple tree, but what feels like her childhood along with it. Lizzie’s brother is too busy for her in his first semester of college and her friends are more interested in dating than dolls. It’s hard not to feel left behind, especially as she tries to explain the fact that she still has zero interest in boys, girls, or the baffling behavior known as “flirting.” But just as Lizzie’s world feels like it’s closing in, a class lesson on asexual reproduction in plants piques her curiosity, leading her to look up whether people can be asexual too—and suddenly, her world opens up. Lizzie finally finds an identity, a word for all her messy, unnameable feelings that feels like it fits, although she quickly realizes that a label isn’t enough if no one believes it’s real.
Accessible, moving, and compassionate, Just Lizzie effortlessly braids a nuanced individual journey of identity with the bittersweet angst of growing up, growing apart, and learning there are many ways to live and love.