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Award-winning author Akemi Dawn Bowman's middle-grade debut!

A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection

Starred Reviews from School Library Journal and BCCB

July's Big Picture feature for the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Released as an audiobook with Listening Library

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Cover illustrated by Jen Bartel and designed by Cassie Gonzales

Generation Misfits by Akemi Dawn Bowman is a heartwarming, fish-out-of-water own voices story about an eleven-year-old Japanese-American girl who finds her true friends―through the power of J-Pop!

Millie is attending a real school for the first time and dreams of finally having friends and a little bit of freedom. So when she joins an imitation band of her favorite J-Pop group, she's thrilled to meet a group of misfits who quickly become like family.


But Millie realizes that one of them is dealing with problems bigger than what notes to hit when it comes time for their performance. Can Millie help her friend, even when their problem feels too big to say out loud?

Published on June 29th, 2021.

content warnings
cw: child neglect, parental abuse, school bullying


Listening Library - narrated by Yuuki Luna


"This character-centered coming-of-age novel features authentic dialogue with a fully realized cast of diverse characters, and celebrates the power, importance, and value of friendship. Highly recommended for school and public library collections."  ★ School Library Journal, starred review

"Throughout, Millie’s burning adoration for Generation Love and her exhilaration at finding people to share her devotion and fanatical knowledge have the ring of truth (and authorial experience), and the book is uncondescending and happily celebratory about the fandom experience and what it means to the kids. Never mind cool: sincerity and enthusiasm rule here in a book that believes fervently in the value and joy of friendship."  ★ The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review

"One of the great themes of the book is how everyone is going through something ... Bowman also gets into the good, bad, and ugly of what it means to be a friend. A great read for both misfits and insiders, this encourages readers to embrace their true selves." — Booklist

"Everyone in this well-paced story grows emotionally, showing what loyal, courageous, and humanly imperfect relationships look like. [...] A sincere story about being true to oneself and others."Kirkus Reviews

"A heart-warming story about friendship that will have readers cheering for Millie and her friends." — Debbi Michiko Florence, author of Keep It Together, Keiko Carter

“A rhythmic, melodic story of friendship and bravery. You’ll not only root for Millie and her misfits―you’ll want to join them.” ― Ashley Herring Blake, author of Stonewall Honor Book Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World

"Millie Nakakura is so relatable it hurts. Readers will root for her as she finally finds connection with her misfit crew in the irresistible world of J-pop despite the sizable obstacles that stand in her way. Akemi Dawn Bowman's debut middle grade novel hits all the right notes with this authentic, vulnerable, and triumphant tale of coming into your own space with courage and grace." — Jessica Kim, author of Stand Up, Yumi Chung


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