Brie Hutchens is a dramatic girl, but she sort of has to be!
She wants to be an actress and she’s learned most of her craft from the Soaps she watches with her Mom.
As an 8th grader, she currently has her sights set on the school play, which she will use as a stepping stone for her application to a Performing Arts High School.
Additionally, at her private Catholic School, it is tradition for one of the 8th grade students to ‘crown Mary’ at a May Crowning ceremony. An acting gig of sorts. Perhaps she could do that too?
One afternoon, her mom catches her looking at scandalous photos of her favorite Soap star, Kelly Monaco, and she sort of jumps the gun on the crowning Mary thing. She tells her Mom, in haste, that she has been selected for the honor.
Her Mother, distracted by this tremendous news, seemingly forgets about the dirty photos. Crisis averted.
Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg for poor Brie.
In the Role of Brie Hutchens is an Own-Voices LGBTQ+ Middle Grade story that examines one girl’s discovery of her own sexual identity while trying to navigate the complexities of family, friendship and faith.
It’s a lot to juggle for anyone at any age, but for Brie the complexities quickly begin to feel overwhelming.
My heart absolutely ached for Brie. You can tell, as the reader, how personal this story is. It is written from the heart with passion, and compassion, for any young person dealing with a less than sympathetic world while they try to discover their truth.
For the first few chapters, I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about Brie.
The drama is real people, but as the story continues, you learn, that is just who Brie is. She certainly doesn’t mean anything by it. It is absolutely how she deals with the world around her.
With each turn of the page, my heart was more attached to her. I yearned for it all to just be okay. In my opinion, Melleby is absolutely brilliant at eliciting such emotions from her readers.
This was true for Hurricane Season and I believe it will be the same here.
The relationships in this book, particularly between Brie and her Mom, they were so moving. I have no words to describe how poignant those scenes were.
I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a sweet, yet deep, coming out tale. Some scenes were uncomfortable, but I believe the overall take away is worth it.
Thank you so much to the publisher, Algonquin Young Readers, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review.
I will continue to read anything Melleby has published. She is a gem!