Zinnia and the BeesZinnia and the Bees by Danielle Davis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After spending the last day of 7th grade in detention for yarn bombing her school mascot, Zinnia walks home to discover that her brother and partner in crime is gone. And he hasn’t left any word on his whereabouts. Zinnia doesn’t think her day can get any worse until a colony of bees turn her unruly head of hair into their new hive.

Davis has perfectly captured Zinnia’s quirky voice and the fraught emotions around friendship that are so common at this age. Zinnia stumbles upon a new friend, and together they search for her brother and try to figure out what to do about the bees. In the process, Zinnia learns to trust herself and step toward instead of away from her friends.

And I LOVE that the “B story” is truly a “bee story” — told with poignancy and humor in the pitch-perfect voice of the hive.

For any middle-schooler who’s ever felt quirky, lonely, misunderstood (who hasn’t?), this is the book for you.