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Publisher's Summary

Number-one Kids Indie Next List * Parents Magazine Best Book of the Year * Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Book of the Year * SLJ Best Book of the Year * Kirkus Best Book of the Year * Junior Library Guild Selection * Edgar Award Nominee * Four-Starred Reviews

From debut author Janae Marks comes a captivating story full of heart, as one courageous girl questions assumptions, searches for the truth, and does what she believes is right - even in the face of great opposition. 

Zoe Washington isn’t sure what to write. What does a girl say to the father she’s never met, hadn’t heard from until his letter arrived on her 12th birthday, and who’s been in prison for a terrible crime?

A crime he says he never committed.

Could Marcus really be innocent? Zoe is determined to uncover the truth. Even if it means hiding his letters and her investigation from the rest of her family. Everyone else thinks Zoe’s worrying about doing a good job at her bakery internship and proving to her parents that she’s worthy of auditioning for Food Network’s Kids Bake Challenge.

But with bakery confections on one part of her mind, and Marcus’s conviction weighing heavily on the other, this is one recipe Zoe doesn’t know how to balance. The only thing she knows to be true: Everyone lies.

"When Marcus tells Zoe he is innocent, and her grandmother agrees, Zoe begins to learn about inequality in the criminal justice system, and she sets out to find the alibi witness who can prove his innocence." (Publishers Weekly, "An Anti-Racist Children's and YA Reading List")

©2020 Janae Marks (P)2020 Katherine Tegen Books

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What listeners say about From the Desk of Zoe Washington

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sweet story with sour untruths

what a cute story of a girl trying to free her innocent bio dad from prison. however , mixed with the lies of systemic racism, the story takes a preachy turn. would have been a great story if it hadn't tried to be too woke.

6 people found this helpful

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Don't judge based on rumors

This book was very relatable, and being a true Bostonian made me ecstatic to see where this book took place. Zoe, did a great job getting her father out of prison.

5 people found this helpful

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A Look Into Being the Child of a "Convict"

Such a sweet and amazing book. Please be sure to stop and listen to each song on the Little Tomato Playlist as the protagonist listens to them. The book is fine without them, but they add an extra depth and a ton of foreshadowing. My 8 year old and my 11 year old and I adored this story and these characters.

4 people found this helpful

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Great characters, great story

The plot drew me in and Zoe’s distinct voice kept me fully engaged. I loved how the author let you see all the characters’ points of view. While I wanted Zoe to succeed, I could understand her mother’s resistance. Very well done, and enjoyable by readers from 10 to adult.

4 people found this helpful

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10/10 I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!

This book caught my eye just by the title. And thank god it did because I really loved this. the storyline just makes you want to keep reading nonstop! you wont be making a mistake!

3 people found this helpful

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Amazing

This is the best book ever. It is read perfectly and wrote amazingly. You should definitely listen to this.

3 people found this helpful

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Hits all the sweet spots!

I flew through this one. It was easy to root for the main character and her goals. A sweet, satisfying ending.

2 people found this helpful

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Beautiful Story!

This book made me tear up on three separate times. With a combination of friendship, cupcakes, and a 12 year old’s investigation into her father’s guilt in prison, it’s sweet, genuine, and inspiring. If only there were more people as brave and persistent as Zoe Washington.

2 people found this helpful

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This is why I don't read debut novels

The narrator was wonderful and added so much to the story, which otherwise was a bit clunky and pedantic. The premise seems interesting enough: a 12-year-old girl gets a letter from her father in prison, who claims he is innocent. But the author tries too hard to layer messages about racism into the story, and there is a whole friendship subplot that just disappears after a few chapters. Also, the protagonist seems like a spoiled brat and was not a sympathetic character. Overall, I wish the story were more mysterious and less preachy.

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loved it

This was well written and read. The story was gripping with lots of heart. I loved it as an adult. I would have loved to have a book like this around when I was a kid.

1 person found this helpful