Braced by Alyson Gerber
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“Sometimes it’s easier to pretend to be someone else, especially when who you really are makes you feel sad.”
Twelve-year-old Rachel Brooks learns she must wear a back brace for scoliosis as her mother did, or risk a complicated surgery, in this intimate and heartfelt story.
At school, Coach Howard has just placed her forward on the team, (she’s that good) and while Rachel loves soccer more than anything, the brace now controls her life. If she misses another practice for a last-minute doctor’s appointment, she won’t make the A team. If she can maneuver like she used to, wearing the brace.
Reluctant to tell BFFs at first, Frannie and Hazel, both on the soccer team, support her. Determined like no one’s business, Rachel works to strengthen her moves on the field, so she’s not cut from the team. But the kids at school are whispering and Rachel feels like a freak wearing the brace. Can she trust her friends?
Rachel finds power through asking for what she wants. She finds her voice to speak out when something bothers her. This empowers Rachel. It empowers the reader. I loved Rachel’s voice her emotions are real and raw. Although I’ve never worn a back brace, this book comforted me. Who hasn’t felt like an outsider? Or felt different than others?
The dynamic between Rachel and her mother, the emotion from their struggle wearing the brace, and their delicate relationship, felt very real and personal. Written from the author’s experience of scoliosis, she takes us on a journey with Rachel, who must face a new normal. A place where not giving up, and speaking out when something bothers you, rule.
Debut Author, March 28th, 2017 by Scholastic Press
“The first contemporary novel about a disorder that bends the lives of ten percent of all teenagers: scoliosis.”
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