Interest LevelReading LevelReading A-ZATOSWord Count
Grades 3 - 7n/an/an/an/a

Acclaimed and award-winning author Erin Entrada Kelly’s You Go First is an engaging exploration of family, bullying, spelling, art, and the ever-complicated world of middle school friendships. Her perfectly pitched tween voice will resonate with fans of Kate DiCamillo’s Raymie Nightingale.

Twelve-year-old Charlotte Lockard and eleven-year-old Ben Boxer are separated by more than a thousand miles. On the surface, their lives seem vastly different—Charlotte lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, while Ben is in the small town of Lanester, Louisiana. Charlotte wants to be a geologist and keeps a rock collection in her room. Ben is obsessed with Harry Potter, presidential history, and recycling. But the two have more in common than they think. They’re both highly gifted. They’re both experiencing family turmoil. And they both sit alone at lunch.

Over the course of a week, Charlotte and Ben—online friends connected only by a Scrabble game—will intersect in unexpected ways, as they struggle to navigate the turmoil of middle school. This engaging story about growing up and finding your place in the world by the winner of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature will appeal to fans of Rebecca Stead and Rita Williams-Garcia.

Hardcover, 304 pages
Published on April 10, 2018 by Greenwillow Books
ISBN-10: 0062414186
ISBN-13: 9780062414182
34 Book Reviews
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  • sydneyz_sings
    sydneyz_singsSaturday, November 28, 2020 at 3:31 pm55 stars
    So first and foremost, This book is awesome, and you should definitely read it, because I think you'd like it, boy or girl! The book starts with Charlotte. She wants to be a geologist when she is older, and she loves Scrabble! One day, her dad gets sick and put into the hospital, and she is really worried about him, and she doesn't want to tell her friend at first, but when she does, She thinks her friend is really nice about it, but than she overhears her friend talking to another girl, and Bridget says “I know I’m being a terrible friend saying this, especially since her dad is in the hospital, but lately I’ve felt like a babysitter. It’s like . . . I don’t know. We don’t have anything in common anymore.”Of course that makes Charlotte super upset! It alternates between Ben and Chalotte. Ben loves Scrabble like Charlotte, and they play online together all the time! He also loves Harry Potter, Recycling, and presidential history. He figures out his parents are getting a divorce, and he decides he wants to give a phone call to his "arch nemesis" in scrabble, Charlotte (AKA, Lottie Lock). 5 stars from me! It's one of the best books I have read in a while!
    • belle252
      belle252Monday, June 29, 2020 at 10:24 pm44 stars
      You Go First is an amazing book that describes stories of Charlotte and Ben, who know each other only because of online scrabble. While the book could have been just stories, it added a lot of feelings, and readers were really able to compare their situations. It is a nice book by Erin Kelly that makes readers read the whole book before putting it down. If you read the book, you will know what I am talking about!
      • howls
        howlsWednesday, June 10, 2020 at 7:41 pm
        So far pretty good
        • winniepiglet
          winniepigletTuesday, May 19, 2020 at 9:04 am44 stars
          The book starts a little bit confusing but if continue the book is really good. Would recommend this for people who like books with characters who go through hardships
          • CornyCorn102Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at 8:37 am
            I like this book because it really shows how close people can get. It shows the importance of friendship which is always important. Also, everything just crumbles together and makes sense which is why I picked this book for "book tasting".
            • clairees
              claireesTuesday, May 19, 2020 at 7:19 am44 stars
              This book is about two different characters and how they struggle with important things happening in their life. Charlotte "Lottie" and Ben, both meet playing online scramble. Charlotte's dad is in the hospital and Ben's parents are getting a divorce. They have to find true friends. Ones that will stick with them through thick and thin.
              • digitaldivaSaturday, May 16, 2020 at 9:55 pm
                tried this at a "book tasting" and I was intrigued. It may be one for summer reading.
                • applemango
                  applemangoSaturday, May 16, 2020 at 4:06 pm55 stars
                  This book is from the perspective of two people Charlotte “Lottie” and Ben. They get connected with an online scrabble game which Charlotte is 2nd and Ben is 1st. Well, not always because scores change. They interact with phone calls. Charlotte “Lottie”: She only has one best friend, Bridget. Lately though, Bridget starts being distant and even mean. Charlotte ends up sitting at lunch alone and even escaping to an art museum. Her father is in the hospital. In the end what are true friends? Ben: The new student at a school. Trying to run for President. Instead he only gets laughed at. What’s more is his brilliant parents are getting divorced. If they solve chemistry problems, why can’t they solve their relationship? Ben gets bullied, his head smashed into a locker, ketchup on his shirt. When he goes to the office though he meets a friend….Wyatt.
                  • extrememsb
                    extrememsbWednesday, May 6, 2020 at 4:22 pm44 stars
                    This book is about a girl named Charlotte and a boy named Ben. They both are kids with not that many friends. They met each other through an online scrabble game. They end up finding a new friend.
                    • 13iamgroot
                      13iamgrootMonday, September 23, 2019 at 3:41 pm44 stars
                      I love many books by Erin Entrada Kelly and "You Go First" is definitely one of them. It is told in two different perspectives only connected by an online Scrabble game that keeps them connected in the hard times that they are facing. Charlotte's dad is in the hospital and her best friend has drifted toward the popular group. Bridget has a pair of Vans, got lots of new clothes, and paints her nails, Charlotte wants to keep hanging out with her but she doesn't seem to fit in. Charlotte is left with no friends and she finds that she has more in common with Magda, the girl next door, than she ever had with Bridget. Ben decides he is going to run for student council treasurer, but doesn't find much support from his school mates. On top of that, his parents decide to get a divorce, that he had no idea was coming. The only person who really gets him is Wyatt, who is kept away from the drama of the school cafeteria on account of his allergies. Charlotte and Ben connect in unexpected ways while they push through their problems in unique ways, find new friends, and learn to not be someone that you're not to impress others. I love how lots of Kelly's books have the character's lives connect in ways that they don't realize. This was a wonderful book, so good that I read it in a day!