If This Were a Story

Beth Turley. Simon & Schuster, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-5344-2061-8
Hannah keeps her feelings bottled up tight, but after she finds a note saying “Nobody likes Hannah” in her fifth grade classroom, her stuffed elephant, Ambrose, starts speaking to her, and she begins a slow journey toward opening up. Hannah is sent to the school counselor, whose official write-ups of their meetings appear along with Ambrose’s observations throughout the story (hints of a traumatic event in Hannah’s family may hold the key to her emotional block). More bullying notes appear, causing a rift between Hannah and one of her best friends as well as escalating tension with the class bully, Kimmy. But all is not as it seems, and everyone has a story in this vibrant debut that leads to a twist readers won’t see coming. Turley deftly conveys how much it costs Hannah to hide her feelings, walling her off from loved ones. The Kimmy subplot may conclude too easily, but Hannah’s growth is organic and well earned. Ages 8–12. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/18/2018
Release date: 08/28/2018
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-1-5344-2062-5
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