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Hazel Hill Is Gonna Win This One by Maggie Horne - Review

Sunday, May 15, 2022


This is a perfect middle grade book and I'm so glad I had the chance to read it. I saw someone mention it on Twitter and they also said it was on Netgalley, so I requested it immediately. So thank you to Firefly Press for granting me permission to read this book. I was given a free electronic copy for reviews purposes only and was not otherwise compensated for this post. All thoughts and opinions remain my own. 

Hazel Hill is in the seventh grade at middle school and she has no friends. Really, she doesn't, and really, she's okay with that. She works hard and is a hit with most teachers. She lost the speech competition last year to super popular girl Ella Quinn, but she is determined that she will win this year. She lives with her parents and her baby brother, Rowan. And she's gay. She knows that but she isn't yet out to anyone. 

She shares her desk in homeroom with a boy called Tyler. He isn't exactly her friend, but he talks to her. Specifically, he talks to her about the girls he has crushes on and girls he's been out with. And he's pretty mean about them, but Hazel doesn't entirely notice. 

But then he tells her that Ella Quinn has a crush on her, but that can't be right, can it? Hazel asks Ella Quinn (she always goes by her full name to everyone except her BFF, Riley) and it turns out that no, Ella isn't any kind of LGBTQ+, but she was being harassed by Tyler and trying to get him off her back. This sounds awful written down, but it does make sense in context and Hazel forgives her. 

Ella Quinn has quite a developed body meaning that she gets lots of negative attention from men and boys much older than her. At first Hazel doesn't quite get it but then she sees it in action and does get it. Ella then shows her some disgusting messages that she's received on an app, and Hazel recognises one of Tyler's spelling errors and knows he sent the messages. The girls ask other girls if they've had run ins with Tyler, and find at least two who have.

They then end up in trouble because Tyler's mother accuses them of starting a campaign against Tyler. The girls try to explain to their principal, Mrs West, what is actually going on, but she doesn't believe them and tells them to be less online basically. 

The girls realise they need to sort this out for themselves... so they do.

I loved this book, it was so perfectly like being twelve and all the problems that go alongside that. I loved Hazel, I wanted her to win and felt for her very deeply. I liked her parents, who are slightly clueless but trying their very best, especially as they have a small baby and a big gap between the two kids. I liked Ella and Riley and their friendship, and the way they pulled Hazel into their circle too. I would love for their to be a sequel to this from any of those three's point of view. I love middle grade when it's written in such an endearing way as this. I'm giving this five out of five!

Hazel Hill Is Gonna Win This One will be published on 18th October 2022. 

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