Book Review: Shy Ways by Susan Griner

Shy Ways by Susan Griner

A Middle Grade Novel published through Amazon Digital Services Inc. (08/28/17)


“I wanted a day off from being part Japanese, part anything.” (Page 145).

Sarah doesn’t like her new home or her new school. The other kids call her mean names because she’s half-Japanese. She wishes she would stand up for herself and speak up, but every time she doesn’t say a word and sometimes cries instead. When the plant where her father and most of the town works has an accident with a chemical leak, it will affect Sarah’s entire family and the whole town. Sarah will forget all about the mean, ignorant comments at school when her mother falls into a deep depression. Taking charge, Sarah will have to find her voice and help her mother.


Sisters, School, Mean Comments, Bullying, Japanese-American, Bi-Racial, New School, New Town, Small Town, PTSD, Racism, Chemical Pollution, Depression, Mothers, Family, Growing Up

My Review:

The story really picks up after the incident at the plant, but we see such a change in Sarah’s home life from before the accident to after. Sarah herself goes through quite a transformation from the beginning of the book to the end. She grows up a lot for a young girl and learns quite a few lessons – like standing up and saying something when someone says something ignorant and mean. She also learns to embrace her mother and her ethnicity, even though it isn’t a part of her life at all except for her heritage.

Both Sarah and her sister were so true to their ages that I could picture them clearly as the kids they were. The young one blurts out whatever’s on her mind and the older one tries to do what she thinks she’s supposed to or follow social norms.

This is a great example of a book of diversity – drawing on issues that kids face when they grow up as second generation Americans.

This novel was published through Amazon Digital Services Inc. on 08/28/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.50

Links for more information:

Susan Griner’s Website