Chapters 38–71

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.
Copy this list to... Buy the Book

Start learning with an activity...

  • Practice

    Answer a few questions on each word. Get one wrong? We'll ask some follow-up questions. Use it to prep for your next quiz!
  • Spelling Bee

    Test your spelling acumen. See the definition, listen to the word, then try to spell it correctly. Beat your last streak, or best your overall time. Spellers of the world, untie!
  • Vocabulary Jam

    Compete head-to-head in real-time to see which team can answer the most questions correctly. Start a Jam and invite your friends and classmates to join!

Explore the Words

definitions & notes only words
  1. hunky-dory
    being satisfactory or in satisfactory condition
    “Really? Because you sure don’t look like everything’s hunky-dory.”
  2. understatement
    something said in a restrained way for ironic contrast
    “Well, he’s not really my boyfriend.” Now, that’s an understatement.
  3. homely
    lacking in physical beauty or proportion
    Coach West nods. “When I was in junior high, my best friend was so gorgeous, and I was just this tall, homely girl with pimples and braces.”
  4. rally
    a large gathering of people intended to arouse enthusiasm
    Hana nods. “Yeah, me and Regina were talking about how bad things are getting. There was almost a riot at the last Black Lives Matter rally when a bunch of people started shouting against us. But stuff like that can make it seem like our movement is just about spreading violence.”
  5. scholarship
    financial aid provided to a student on the basis of merit
    I want a scholarship to play ball next year. It’s not fair that I have to take some schools off my list because I would be afraid to live there.
  6. solemn
    dignified and somber in manner or character
    My family is pretty solemn on the way home, and it’s like no one wants to be first to break the silence, but then Daddy clears his throat.
  7. raspy
    unpleasantly harsh or grating in sound
    “But you’ve been talking to Tyler?” Her voice sounds raspy.
  8. gritty
    composed of or covered with small particles
    You’re hunched over with your butt sticking up, your feet pressed hard against the pedals, your itchy palms raised, with just the tips of your fingers on the gritty track, waiting.
  9. muster
    gather or bring together
    I grab my lunch from my locker but can’t muster up my standard slam, and then I make my way outside.
  10. hoarse
    deep and harsh sounding as if from shouting or illness
    “Yeah,” Isabella says, and her voice sounds really hoarse now.
  11. ambush
    wait in hiding to attack
    Tyler ambushes me in between third and fourth period. He pulls me over to a corner in the hallway, and I’m caught.
  12. register
    enter into someone's consciousness
    I’m so wrapped up in the moment of him actually talking to me that at first I think he’s asking about Julia, because I had wondered the same thing. And then my brain goes, Well, that’s silly—he doesn’t even know Julia, so I think, Oh, he must mean Tyler. But then, it registers. Hard.
  13. hyperventilate
    breathe excessively hard and fast
    “Now that’s a Black girl for you,” she says, laughing so hard, I think she might hyperventilate.
  14. jeopardy
    a source of danger
    “The jury must’ve believed she thought her life was in jeopardy.”
  15. nonviolence
    peaceful resistance to a government
    “And protect our daughter, Hana, as she struggles to understand the horrible shootings and this troubling verdict. Keep her on the path of peace and nonviolence. And give solace to the poor families, Lord, who have lost young men way too soon.”
  16. solace
    comfort offered to one who is disappointed or miserable
    “And protect our daughter, Hana, as she struggles to understand the horrible shootings and this troubling verdict. Keep her on the path of peace and nonviolence. And give solace to the poor families, Lord, who have lost young men way too soon.”
  17. affect
    have an influence upon
    “Yes, sugar,” Momma says. “Black Lives Matter organized a march on the 405 to protest the ruling. To make people see that we need to get justice too. You know in this city anything that affects traffic is going to get noticed.”
  18. swivel
    turn on a pivot
    “I guess,” she says. Her head swivels around like she is looking for something or somebody. Somebody who isn’t me.
  19. prejudiced
    showing bias or bigotry or influenced by preconceived ideas
    She said it’s about a big trial, and the South when it was super prejudiced and racist against Black people (that’s not the way she said it) and about people not treating other people fairly.
  20. technically
    according to the exact meaning; according to the facts
    Isabella shrugs. “Well, I’m brown. Seems like that’s close enough. And technically, Shayla’s brown.”
  21. cobbler
    a pie made of fruit with rich biscuit dough on top
    A warm scoop of peach cobbler floats around in my stomach.
  22. clobber
    strike violently and repeatedly
    Bernard pushes Alex behind him and then he clobbers Marcus, and that’s just when Principal Trask walks outside the cafeteria.
  23. menacing
    threatening evil or danger
    “What did you say?” Principal Trask asks menacingly.
  24. suspend
    bar temporarily
    “If it hadn’t been for you and Coach West, I think Principal Trask would’ve had me suspended.” He ties on the armband. “Thanks.”
  25. scrawny
    being very thin
    Alvin is about five inches shorter than me, and he’s as scrawny as a chicken wing.
  26. incense
    a substance that produces a fragrant odor when burned
    “A Black woman was selling incense in front of a store,” Daddy said.
  27. quiver
    shake with fast, tremulous movements
    I take a step back and feel a bad quivering in my bottom lip.
  28. brim
    fill as much as possible
    Still, my eyes start brimming with tears.
  29. disrespect
    show a lack of regard for
    “We can’t have children disrespecting—”
    “Excuse me? Disrespecting whom? Because as far as I can see, they are showing a huge amount of respect for the victims who have lost their lives. Don’t you think that’s important?”
  30. hobble
    walk impeded by some physical limitation or injury
    Coach West has to help Carmetta up. Then Carmetta uses Coach West as a crutch and hobbles over to the sidelines.
  31. fumble
    handle clumsily
    I hated those practices. All the fumbling, and stumbling, and batons slipping and dropping to the ground. Did Coach West remember how much I struggled with that stupid aluminum tube?
  32. desperate
    showing extreme urgency or intensity because of great need
    But either she doesn’t remember or she’s desperate, because she says, “You know how, Shayla. You can do it. You’re doing great with your events, and you know I always tell you you’re faster than you realize.”
  33. disqualify
    declare unfit
    We have to make the transfer before I’m out of the handoff zone. If I get it late, we’ll be disqualified.
  34. neck and neck
    even or close in a race or competition or comparison
    Angie is still in second, and the Wayne girl seems like she is going to be too fast to catch. But Angie is gaining on her, and I feel a scream get caught in my throat. Then they’re neck and neck, and the finish line is right in front of them.
  35. incredulously
    in a disbelieving manner
    “So you have to be mean to be popular?” Isabella asks incredulously.
Created on May 2, 2019 (updated May 2, 2019)

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.