Fifty-Four Things Wrong with Gwendolyn Rogers

Caela Carter. Quill Tree, $16.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-299663-3
Carter (How to Be a Girl in the World) draws from her own experience of undiagnosed ADHD and dyslexia in this moving, authentically told story. Every night, blonde Wisconsin fifth grader Gwendolyn reads the list of 54 takeaways she noted from a school report mailed to her home, all of which have her believing she’s “sometimes not a good student or daughter or person in general.” She wishes she could live up to her single mother’s expectations, but she finds her PowerKids after-school program challenging, and an outburst at the local stables, the only place she feels fully herself, has gotten her banned. So when PowerKids offers a summer horse camp, and Tyler—Gwendolyn’s recently discovered half brother, who is of Greek descent and has struggles similar to hers—Gwendolyn determines to fix whatever is “wrong” with her. Carter provides searing descriptions of Gwendolyn’s attempts at “appropriate” behavior (“I’m going to be good today. I just know it”), as well as of the school’s differing class- and gender-related expectations for more privileged, already-diagnosed Tyler and still-searching Gwendolyn (“It’s like being bad is just one thing about him and not everything about him”). A compassionate portrait of what a diagnosis can offer. Ages 8–12. Agent: Kate McKean, Howard Morhaim Literary. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 08/18/2021
Release date: 10/19/2021
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-06-299665-7
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