Visions of Thin Mints float through my mind as we embark on a sacred time of year: Girl Scout Cookie season. But those delicious little cookies are dunked in politics and controversy as their brother organization, Boy Scouts, struggle to define themselves in modern times.
Brownie Points by Jennifer Coburn nibbles away at the heart of the matter, following the journey of a boy who just wants to belong.
Told from the vantage point of his mother, Lisa Taylor, readers are engulfed into the world of a transplanted family working to find their place in a new community. After Lisa’s husband lands a job as the first African American fire chief in an upscale, Stepford-wives style neighborhood, the whole family must learn to define themselves in their new home.
But none struggle to fit in as much as Logan, one half of smart, outgoing twins. As his sister discovers herself and claims her space as a Black woman for the first time in her life, Logan attempts to find where he fits in among their new crew. Fighting loneliness by tagging along to his sister’s Girl Scouts meetings finds himself – and a door that swiftly closes in his face.
Following the dramatic battle between the neighborhood mothers all the way to a civil rights lawsuit that draws national attention is exhilarating. Readers find themselves cheering for something that seems so counter-intuitive: to let a boy join the Girl Scouts. What at first appears dissonant is quickly flipped to seem only natural.
This novel couldn’t have come at a better time. While Boy Scouts of America struggles to modernize its views on homosexuality, the heart of this story could easily be playing out in any community across the US.
The politics are thick and the stakes are high. Pair this politically charged novel with the equally strong McManis Family Petite Sirah. This rich, earthy red will ground you as you get lost in Logan’s battle – no matter which side you take.