I Got You Babe

Orca. Feb. 2023. 120p. pap. $10.95. ISBN 9781459834705.
Gr 3-7–This book glories in divas, in glitter, and in old school glam. While it’s possible many young readers won’t grasp the Cher references (Coccia includes explanations for deeper cuts), they’re delicious for the few who do. Main character Mac embraces being a diva, and while there is a Pride Carnival as a background, there’s no stress over him worshiping Cher or loving rainbows. All the tension is in friendship quarrels, not bigotry. It’s just Mac discovering how to fully acknowledge his best friend Amy, with whom he has planned a legendary (and rigorously rehearsed) Sonny and Cher drag routine. But when the day of the performance arrives, Amy admits she’s frustrated at not being heard. Mac works to be his authentic self while leaving room for others to shine. Mac loves Amy, realizing “I need her. She keeps me real. She really does get me.” But simply feeling seen isn’t enough—Mac needs to “get” Amy as well. Solidly upper middle grade, this novel demonstrates how rare it is to find someone who helps you, and the lengths you must go to appreciate that person. Setting that to feathers and lipsyncing? Just the cherry on top. Characters are cued as white.
VERDICT This is a sweet, retro-infused text that deftly holds space for all. Ideal for bored theater kids or shy students who desire to shine.

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