From award-winning YA author Leah Johnson comes her middle grade debut: a laugh-until-you-cry, cry-until-you-laugh story about friendship, change, and the power we have to love ourselves. Ellie Engle doesn’t stand out. Not at home, where she's alone with her pet fish since her dad moved away and her mom has to work around the clock . Not at the bakery, where she helps out old Mr. Walker on the weekends. And definitely not at school, where her best friend Abby—the coolest, boldest, most talented girl in the world—drags Ellie along on her never-ending quest to “make her mark.” To someone else, a life in the shadows might seem boring, or lonely. But not to Ellie. As long as she has Abby by her side and a comic book in her hand, she’s quite content.
Too bad life didn’t bother checking in with Ellie. Because when a freak earthquake hits her small town, Ellie wakes up with the power to bring anything back to life with just her touch. And when a video of her using her powers suddenly goes viral, Ellie’s life goes somewhere she never imagined—or wanted: straight into the spotlight.
Surviving middle school is hard enough. Surviving middle school when paparazzi are camped out on your front lawn and an international pop singer wants you to use your powers on live tv and you might be in love with your best friend but she doesn’t know it? Absolutely impossible.
About the Author
Leah Johnson always wanted to be a superhero, but she became a writer instead, which she thinks is the next-best thing. Her best-selling debut novel, You Should See Me in a Crown, was a Stonewall Honor Book, the inaugural Reese’s Book Club YA Pick, and named one of Time’s 100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time. Leah lives in Indianapolis, where she writes books about Black girls with big hearts, plays fetch with the best dog in the world, and talks about Miles Morales to anyone who will listen. Ellie Engle Saves Herself is her middle grade debut. You can find Leah online at ByLeahJohnson.com and on Instagram and Twitter @ByLeahJohnson.
"A sheer delight from beginning to end! Ellie Engle is the epitome of main character energy through and through and I am here for it. Excuse me while I not so patiently wait for the next book!"——Julie Murphy, New York Times best-selling author of Dumplin’
"Ellie Engle is a force, soaring off the page to remind us that sometimes the person who needs rescuing the most is staring back at us in the mirror."——Kwame Mbalia, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Tristan Strong series
"Superpowers, queer crushes, a Black girl stepping into herself and her power, what it means to feel seen: Leah Johnson's middle grade debut does it all, and more. If I was still a school librarian I'd be shoving this in all of my students' hands, and I know they'd come back asking for the sequel."——Kyle Lukoff, winner of the Newbery Honor Award and the Stonewall Award for Too Bright to See
"This book is for the hero inside all of us. It's a funny, heartfelt reminder that we are all worthy of standing in the sun, rather than hiding in the shadows. Readers will feel seen, loved, and cherished after spending time with Ellie Engle."——Erin Entrada Kelly, Newbery Medal Winner for Hello, Universe, and Newbery Honor Winner for We Dream
*"This delightful, magical middle-grade debut from young adult author Johnson excellently harnesses the anxiety that is prevalent throughout the junior-high years. Ellie’s magic serves as a metaphor that carves out a space for uncovering and awakening her identity as a young queer Black girl. Strongly recommended for all collections."——Booklist (starred review)
*"This fast-paced, humorous novel will have readers racing to the end as they fall in love with Ellie’s quirky and authentic personality. Johnson deftly explores identity and responsibility to ourselves and others in this joyful coming-of-age story. Marvelous."——Kirkus (starred review)
“Leah Johnson’s superpower is showing young readers who feel invisible that they are seen. With a funny, authentic voice, Ellie Engle Saves Herself is a mirror and window that belongs on middle-grade shelves everywhere."——Kacen Callender, National Book Award-winning author of King and the Dragonflies