Saturday, June 27, 2020

Just Like Jackie, by Lindsey Stoddard

Robinson (named after Jackie Robinson) is a tough girl.  When bully Alex Carter teases her, she decks him.  When Alex hurts her best friend Derek, she avenges the offense.  But as much of a fighter as Robbie is, she can't figure out how to fix her grandfather, who is slowly losing his faculties, and that feeling of powerlessness makes her very angry and scared.

Because of the incidents at school, Robbie gets assigned to group counseling, along with Alex and a number of other children in her class.  The experience is an eye-opener.  Being exposed to other people's problems helps her deal with her own anger and encourages her to open up about her fears and frustrations.

In sum, a sweet middle reader that explores extended families and the pain of watching a loved one succumb to Alzheimer's.  Robbie is certainly a strong enough heroine, but I found her anger and stubbornness a bit hard to take.  The behavior is age appropriate but doesn't make for a sympathetic character.  Being the only real character in the book, it is hard to get very deep into this story.

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