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Being twelve isn't easy, especially when you're Neva Beane. Neva feels beautiful wearing her new bra, but she's confused by how others respond to the changes taking place in and out of her body. Her best friend, Jamila, is getting all the attention. Her brother, Clayton, is becoming an activist. And Mom and Dad are gone working-again. Grandad and Nana aren't much help, either, with their old ways and backward views.
Neva struggles to find her place in a world that, like the political landscape that's always shifting around her in her West Philadelphia neighborhood, is uncertain, at times scary, but most always, filled with unanswered questions. Neva is left with what comforts her most-words and their meanings, which she chronicles herself. While the pages of her beloved dictionary reveal truths about what's happening around her, Neva must discover the best way to define herself. In this wholly original story by the author of the NAACP Image Award nominee Riding Chance, a girl finds her voice in unexpected ways.