Book Review: “What Momma Left Me” By Renée Watson


What it’s about:

Thirteen-year-old Serenity Evans tragically and unexpectedly lost her Momma, but how her Momma passed was something she didn’t want to talk about. As her Daddy was also absent, Serenity and her younger brother had to move in with their maternal grandparents, and start their new life in the new neighbourhood, at a new school, and a new church. All 4 of them tried hard to pick up the pieces of their lives, going through an emotional rollercoaster.

Ashley says:

Even though the main character of this book is 13 years old and in Grade 8, I feel that this book is far too emotionally-heavy for middle-graders. Don’t get me wrong, I totally enjoyed reading this book, but I definitely was not prepared for how heavy it really is. I was hooked from the first paragraph, but I had to put the book down pretty much after every chapter, just to breathe out. This book features a lot of dark topics, such as death, murder, suicide, abuse, poverty, secrets, and drugs that are heavy-hearted. But even when it talks about happiness, wedding, loyal friendship, and religious beliefs, it’s still intense. The only thing that is young about this book is the way it is written. I’m 12 years old, and I find that the prose (the vocabulary and sentence structure) is somewhat too simple for me. But maybe the author did that intentionally just to lighten up the book a little.

One thing that bothers me about this book is the name of the book itself. It is almost a question, and before reading the book, I assumed that that was what I wanted to find out. Three pages in, and I forgot all about the question. There were other questions in the book that I needed to know the answers, but not the question that is the name of the book. All of a sudden, that question was answered – simply and without any fanfare, and really did not mean anything to me at all. I wonder whether this book might appeal to a wider audience with a different name…

Will I recommend this book?

Totally, but with the warnings of the heavy topics mentioned. I enjoyed the book, but I just wasn’t prepared for the heaviness of it. Now that you are, I think you will really enjoy it. Happy reading! 💖



Age 12, Grade 7
Ontario, Canada