Chapters 19–37

Twelve-year-old Shayla doesn't like to make waves—but as she navigates middle school and educates herself about prejudice in her community, she learns that sometimes it's good to cause a little trouble.
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definitions & notes only words
  1. relay
    a race between teams
    Angie is with the other girls on the relay team: Carmetta, Natalie, and Maya.
  2. hassle
    annoy continually or chronically
    You may find as you get older that there’s something...comfortable, or I don’t know, comforting, in having friends who can relate to things you might be going through. Little things like knowing what type of product to put on your hair, and big stuff like knowing how it feels when we hear about the police hassling someone just because they’re Black. Or worse than hassling.
  3. fraternize
    be on friendly terms with someone, as if with a brother
    Hana walks in just then and throws her hand against her chest like she’s having a heart attack. “Daddy, come quick! Momma is starting to fraternize with white folk!”
  4. activist
    a militant reformer
    Most people hear Black Panther and they think of the movie, but Hana is quick to remind everyone the activists came first.
  5. beret
    a soft cap with no brim or bill
    Hana shows me pictures of other people who were in the Black Panthers, and when I see the black jackets and berets, I think I have a good costume idea.
  6. banshee
    a female spirit who wails to warn of impending death
    “We’re going to howl like banshees!” he tells us in this excited way he gets sometimes.
  7. grim
    harshly uninviting or formidable in manner or appearance
    A sculpture of a guy’s head sits right in the middle of the grass, and when Isabella and I go over to look, I see that of course it is Ralph Waldo Emerson. He looks pretty grim.
  8. plaque
    a tablet that commemorates a person or achievement
    Coach West comes over while I’m reading the engraving on the plaque below the statue.
  9. canvas
    an oil painting on a heavy, closely woven fabric
    Then she says to Isabella, “You look like you walked right off of Mia’s canvas,” and Isabella grins real big.
  10. verge
    the limit beyond which something happens or changes
    “Oh, hey, Bernard,” I squeak out. I glance at Isabella, wondering if she’s on the verge of freaking out too, but she doesn’t seem bothered.
  11. literally
    in a sense limited to explicit meaning
    After fifth period, on my way to shop, I run right into Principal Trask. Like, literally. She turned the corner the same time I did, and wham!
  12. appropriate
    suitable for a particular person, place, or situation
    She looks me up and down and frowns. “Young lady, do you really think it’s appropriate to wear that to school?”
  13. flashy
    tastelessly showy
    I’ve seen girls in ridiculously flashy, slinky costumes today that seem inappropriate, but there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with what I have on.
  14. slew
    a large number or amount or extent
    I’ve seen about twenty Wonder Womans and a whole slew of minions.
  15. funk
    a state of nervous depression
    I’m in a funk the whole way to school.
  16. saunter
    walk leisurely and with no apparent aim
    After Mr. Levy explains the lab, I saunter back to a lab table, where Jace is waiting, as if I couldn’t care less that we are partners.
  17. density
    the amount per unit size
    For the lab, we have to pour different substances into a big beaker to test for density.
  18. stern
    serious and harsh in manner or behavior
    “You should tell him to leave me alone.” I’m only joking around, but Yolanda gets a stern expression like I’m one of her little brothers or sisters acting up.
  19. limber
    cause to become supple
    The only thing fun about it is when all the hurdlers line up and do high kicks. It’s supposed to limber us up, but it feels like dancing in a chorus line.
  20. frustrating
    discouraging by hindering
    I also can’t seem to get the hurdles down, and it’s getting so frustrating.
  21. mangle
    destroy or injure severely
    I try to find a nice steady pace, but I feel like a mangled robot, all out of sorts and jerky.
  22. jerky
    lacking a steady rhythm
    I try to find a nice steady pace, but I feel like a mangled robot, all out of sorts and jerky.
  23. dribble
    run or flow slowly, as in drops or in an unsteady stream
    And then Stacy comes over, and my smile dribbles away.
  24. accent
    distinctive manner of oral expression
    Her accent makes her sound like this movie star Momma likes, and Mrs. Alvarez actually looks like she could be a movie star.
  25. ammunition
    information that can be used to attack a claim or argument
    “I’m just saying...” Momma taps her fingernails on the steering wheel and doesn’t say anything for a few minutes.
    I should’ve known she was just loading her ammunition.
  26. crow
    brag openly or dwell on with satisfaction
    “We command you to kiss Shayla!” Paul Childress crows.
  27. smother
    envelop completely
    Before I can say anything, Tyler kisses me. I’m not talking a peck on the cheek; his mouth is smothering mine.
  28. chap
    make or become cracked or sore, especially from cold
    It is slobbery, and even though he must’ve just had a mint so at least his breath isn’t bad, his lips are chapped and scratchy.
  29. ironic
    displaying incongruity between what is expected and what is
    “Fine, Shay,” Isabella says, and now she sounds annoyed with me, which is all kinds of ironic.
  30. blare
    make a loud noise
    BD, Isabella, Julia, and I would’ve had lots of fun hanging at the mall, listening to Christmas carols blare from loudspeakers, and skating on the fake ice rink—it’s really for little kids, but we love flying around on it, crashing into each other.
Created on May 2, 2019 (updated May 2, 2019)

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