Things That Surprise You by Jennifer Maschari (review)
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Reviewed by
Maschari, Jennifer Things That Surprise You. Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, 2017 [288p]
Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-06-243892-8 $16.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-06-243894-2 $9.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 4-6

Emily is going into sixth grade, and she has three big problems: she’s angry about her parents’ divorce and her father’s remarriage; she’s worried about her older sister, Mina, who’s coming home after being in rehab for an eating disorder; she’s afraid her best friend, Hazel, is leaving her behind for new friends and teenager-type tastes. Emily’s narration effectively balances these strands, and she’s especially sympathetic in her understanding that Mina’s problem is much bigger than hers even as she yearns for her own distress to be recognized and assuaged. That adds a thoughtful and original facet to the familiar friend-drift story, and since many readers will be familiar with the simultaneous anxiety of personal and familial problems, they’ll appreciate Maschari’s take. A note on eating disorders with some resources is appended.

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