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Author: Gerber, Alyson
When twelve-year-old Rachel learns that her scoliosis has worsened and she will need to wear a back brace to keep her spine straight, she is devastated; afraid that she will not be able to play soccer, and terrified that she will not be able to hide her condition from her friends and classmates--but her mother is determined to spare her the spinal fusion surgery that she herself had as a teenager.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.10
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 188067
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 3.70
Points: 15.0 Quiz: 70611
Kirkus Reviews (+) (12/15/16)
School Library Journal (01/01/17)
Booklist (+) (02/01/17)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 01/01/2017 Gr 5–7—Gerber's debut novel tells the story of 12-year-old Rachel Brooks, who has scoliosis. At first this just meant a lot of annoying doctor's appointments, but the summer before seventh grade, Rachel is told that she must wear a bulky back brace for 23 hours a day in order to stop the progression of the curvature of her spine. Rachel also loves soccer. Wearing the brace is bad enough, but how will she keep her coveted spot on the soccer team when she'll have to learn how to play all over again with the brace? Friendships and loyalties are tested, but eventually everything is neatly resolved. One can't help but be reminded of Judy Blume's 1973 classic, Deenie. However, this novel falls a bit short of Blume's. The narrative plods along, reading like a (rather dull) account of Rachel's ordeal navigating soccer tryouts, friendships, family, and first love. Although readers will appreciate Rachel's determination and courage, it is hard to become fully engaged in the story. The overall plot is thin, and the secondary characters are not very well fleshed out, which may lead to a bit of apathy on the part of readers. VERDICT An additional purchase for libraries that are looking to bulk up their realistic fiction offerings for middle graders.—Megan Kilgallen, Packer Collegiate Institute, Brooklyn - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 02/01/2017 *Starred Review* Rachel’s life is going really well. She’s 12 and totally crushing it on the soccer field (which means more time with her best-friend teammates), and everyone agrees that the ridiculously cute Tate is within days of asking her to be official BF/GF. All of that comes to a crashing halt when her Boston specialist reveals she has scoliosis. In fact, the curvature of her spine is so extreme that she’ll have to wear a back brace—a heavy hulk of white padded plastic stretching from armpits to tail bone—for 23 hours a day. She tries to keep her spirits up but feels like a freak. Her soccer game plummets, and it seems like everyone—even her friends and Tate—are whispering in the halls. How can everything turn upside down so quickly? And where can she possibly find the strength to power through? Rachel’s first-person narration relays her story in a surprisingly intimate, beautifully earnest voice, likely attributable to Gerber herself suffering from scoliosis and wearing a fitted brace in her formative years. Here she captures the preteen mindset so authentically that it’s simultaneously delightful and painful. Every hallway whisper and direct insult will cut to the reader’s heart, and the details about the process of wearing a brace in all its agonies—and, yes, benefits—are a natural and enlightening thread through the story. A masterfully constructed and highly empathetic debut about a different kind of acceptance. - Copyright 2017 Booklist.