BAYA Book Review

Scout’s Honor by Lily Anderson

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Anderson, Lily. Scout’s Honor. Henry Holt and Co., 2022. 416p. ISBN: 9781250246738 $18.99 HS *****

Purple tone flowers bursting out from the title text.
Scout’s Honor,

Prudence’s whole family is deeply immersed in the Ladybird Scouts, a girl scout-esque social group that is really a demon fighting organization. Prudence herself was a scout up until three years ago, when she saw her best friend killed during a battle. Since then, Prudence has quit the scouts and tried her best to live a normal life while recovering from her trauma. But when she’s forced to re-enter the fold and train a group of junior scouts, Prue finds herself getting closer to the scouts. As evil brews in her town, Prue will be forced to confront her demons—both literal and metaphorical. 

Scout’s Honor is a paranormal YA novel that blends fun with serious in a perfect balance. The novel deals with mental health very thoughtfully: Prue is still struggling with trauma and anxiety three years after her best friend’s death, while the world around her (including her family and fellow Ladybirds) tells her to move on. She struggles with feeling weak or too soft, but in mentoring younger scouts, she begins to see her softness as a strength. The Ladybirds have always been trained to be strong, hard, and sharp, but Prue dreams of a new version of the Ladybirds that embraces vulnerability and makes space for everyone.  

This novel also deals with friendship and family as Prue finds her new place amongst the scouts while reckoning with those she left behind. She struggles with feeling out of place in her family, especially with her hyper-focused mom who is devoted to the scouts. While this is obviously a fantastical read, many teen readers will relate to Prue’s desire to find her place and be accepted as she is. While Scout’s Honor is very much about mental health, it’s also an action-packed read with a dose of humor and campy paranormal vibes.  

In terms of diversity, Prue and her family are Puerto Rican, and there are several other supporting characters who are Black or Latinx. Prue and her boyfriend are both fat, and there are side characters who are queer and disabled (including one who uses a prosthetic limb).  

Readers who enjoy fast-paced novels with lots of action scenes will enjoy this book, as will those who liked Lily Anderson’s previous book, Undead Girl Gang. I’ll also be recommending it to fans of the Babysitters Coven series by Kate Williams. Scout’s Honor brings an excellent balance of heavy topics and fun demon fighting, and is a great addition to any YA collection.  

–Ari Nussbaum, Hayward Public Library
Tags: Coming of age, Diverse, Fantasy, Humor, Mental health, People of color

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