Thursday, March 25, 2021

The Space Between Lost and Found, by Sandy Stark-McGinnis

Cassie's mother used to be a bigger-than-life person. But since she started forgetting things, that energy seems to be slipping away.  She's been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's and her life is becoming ever more challenging.  Cassie and her father try to care for Mom but it is only a matter of time before they will be compelled to institutionalize her.

There are so many things they planned together and few (if any) of them are still possible.  Cassie knows one thing on Mom's bucket list that she and Mom can still do -- swim with the dolphins -- but Cassie's father is worried that Mom could get hurt.  Cassie pushes back, knowing that this may be their last chance before Mom is too far gone to do anything.

Meanwhile, Cassie struggles to find any sort of balance in her life.  Dealing with her mother's declining health has caused her to neglect her best friend.  At school, she buries herself in math and art classes, which are the other things that make sense to her anymore.  How can she sort out a world her mother cannot even reemember her name anymore?

A touching middle-grade reader about dealing with memory loss.  There are no solutions or happy endings here, but the book does a good job of showing a young family coping with an old person's disease.  The book doesn't offer many surprises (although the inevitable stealing-Mom-away-to-take-her-on-her-last-hurrah episode does provide predictable tension), but the tale is well told.  Cassie herself gets to make some brave choices about the extent to which she can accept the changes her mother is going through.

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