Not If I Can Help It

Carolyn Mackler. Scholastic Press, $16.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-545-70948-4
Mackler (The Universe Is Expanding and So Am I) delivers an up-close look at Sensory Processing Disorder through this bighearted story about a girl’s tumultuous fifth-grade year. Willa Grover, who is white, is best friends with Indian American Ruby Chaudhary; they’re in the same class on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. They both like gummy bears and cold treats, but Ruby is easygoing while worrier Willa dislikes change. Willa doesn’t want most people, even Ruby, to know that she sees an occupational therapist twice a week. Her daily life with her father, little brother, and babysitter has settled into a comfortable routine after her parents’ divorce, even though she often feels “Invisible Weird”—privately out of step with those around her. So when her father and Ruby’s mother announce they’re dating, Willa feels that her carefully constructed world is being unfairly squeezed. Willa’s supportive mom and stepdad live a couple hours away, and a classmate seems determined to make Willa even more uncomfortable. Drawing from her own family’s experience, Mackler creates authentic characters and honest situations, pulling readers into a warm, involving story about a girl navigating adolescence while coping with personal challenges and inevitable changes. Ages 8–12. Agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (July)
Reviewed on : 05/23/2019
Release date: 07/30/2019
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 978-0-545-70950-7
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