Lo Simpson Starts a Revolution

Orca. Apr. 2024. 216p. pap. $14.95. ISBN 9781459838505.
Gr 5 Up–A middle schooler used to living in her best friend’s shadow learns how to stand out and speak up, not just for herself but for her whole school. Twelve-year-old Lo’s best friend, Jazz, seems to be outgrowing her. Instead of wanting to cosplay and obsess over Doctor Who, Jazz is now interested in clothes, boys, and popularity. Through confessional, unmailed letters to Doctor Who, Lo wishes for advice on how to be brave and seeks solace in her loneliness. After Jazz ditches Lo for the “It Girls,” Lo stumbles across a new friend group that shares her interests. When Lo comes to Jazz’s rescue on a day she unexpectedly gets her period and bleeds through her pants, Lo develops a new interest: getting the school to provide free period products in all bathrooms. Working with her new friends (including nonbinary Zev, who helps make sure Lo’s plans and language are inclusive) and eventually some unexpected allies, Lo addresses the need for necessary hygiene products and speaks up about consent, sexual harassment, and double standards at her school. Told at a quick pace with short chapters and plenty of dialogue, this story, rife with themes of regeneration (which any one-sided Doctor Who pen pal knows all about) and transformation, unflinchingly tackles big issues and emphasizes the importance of speaking up for oneself and on behalf of others.
VERDICT A compelling look at friendship, activism, and self-confidence.

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