Author: Caprara, Rebecca
In the two years since his mother was killed in an automobile crash, Collin has been anticipating further disasters, writing down what to do in the event of an avalanche or mentally practicing the Heimlich maneuver just in case--but the real trouble is that his mathematician father is obsessed with a classic math problem and has a hoarding problem that is spiraling out of control, leaving Collin desperate to hide this chaos from his friends and everyone else, even as he struggles with his own grief.
Kirkus Reviews (08/15/21)
School Library Journal (+) (10/08/21)
The Hornbook (00/01/22)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 09/15/2021 In the two years since his mom’s sudden death, Arizona middle-schooler Collin has tried to deal with his grief by compiling a notebook of calamities—from #212, Indigestion, to #741, Typhoon—and ways to face them. He has no strategy for coping with the relentless bullying from classmate Tyson, though, or the way his distracted father has become such a manic hoarder that the house has turned into a filthy mess. Caprara chronicles Collin’s internal struggles, as well as his efforts to hide what’s happening from his friends and others, entirely in short-lined free verse interspersed with bulleted entries from his notebook. Readers will likely be appalled by his vivid, wrenching descriptions, but there are moments of poignancy (“she was / supposed to be / with us / forever”) and even humor to lighten the load, as well as a reassuringly large circle of supportive peers and grown-ups. Adult characters in fiction who fall prey to compulsive hoarding disorder often tend to be mothers, so this lyrical story offers an unusual perspective on living with a troubled parent. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 10/08/2021 Gr 5 Up—Written in verse, Caprara's latest centers heartbreaking main character Collin, plus trusty and loving sidekicks Liam and Georgia. Collin has more challenges than most middle schoolers. After the tragic death of his mother in a car accident, Collin is terrified of things going wrong, and his father begins to collect more and more junk that fills up the house. Collin must come up with all kinds of excuses not to have his friends over because of the state of his home. Readers learn about The Hoard—what Collin calls these piles of junk that make for extremely unsafe living conditions. As part of his anxiety about bad things happening, Collin creates a self-guide to emergency situations. These how-to guides are sprinkled throughout the book, which some children might find very helpful. When a prank involving a bully turns into an emergency situation, Collin's preparedness makes him the hero. He has to rescue his father from a house fire that rages out of control because of The Hoard. Collin's unique situation is realistically depicted alongside common middle school moments including pranks, bullying, endearing friendships, and self-examination. VERDICT This lyrical title captures the vulnerability of a tween dealing with many challenges, both at school and home. A work of realistic fiction that has much to offer young readers experiencing anxiety and navigating similar middle school situations.—Erin Olsen, Hunter Coll. Elem. Sch., NY - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.