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Sticks & Stones Hardcover – July 12, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—What if everything others said about you became visible on your body? This is the reality for new sixth grader Elyse. Elyse struggles with issues common to most middle schoolers: navigating the popular crowd, unrequited crushes, and changing friendships. But she also has to deal with cognadjivisibilitis, or CAV: a disease that causes words to appear all over her body whenever they're spoken aloud. It's not so bad when people say nice things about her, but the mean ones are big and itchy and compete for space. As if that's not embarrassing enough, Elyse has just discovered that anything she thinks about herself (positive or negative) shows up, too. Now somebody at her school is sending her secret notes, claiming to want to help her with her predicament. Elyse sets out to learn the identity of the mysterious letter writer, all the while working through her own issues of identity and self-acceptance. Cooper does an excellent job using the imagined CAV to explore self-esteem issues, which are so prevalent at this precarious time in life. Middle grade readers will enjoy Elyse's wry observations about school and family life, and most will relate to the agony of dealing with being different, especially during those awkward preteen and teenage years. Fans of Wonder by R.J. Palacio will enjoy this book for its similar writing style, compelling characters, and upbeat tone. VERDICT A quirky, clever, and lighthearted look at what it means to accept oneself. Highly recommended for most middle grade collections.—Tabitha Nordby, Red River College, Manitoba, Canada
“Middle grade readers will enjoy Elyse’s wry observations about school and family life, and most will relate to the agony of dealing with being different, especially during those awkward preteen and teenage years. Fans of Wonder by R.J. Palacio will enjoy this book for its similar writing style, compelling characters, and upbeat tone. A quirky, clever, and lighthearted look at what it means to accept oneself. Highly recommended.” ―School Library Journal
“A solid choice for readers transitioning from the relatively tame emotional landscapes of their elementary years to the more treacherous terrain of middle school.” ―The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
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Top Customer Reviews
This novel is, what I would call sort of, magical realism novel. This is because the disease Elyse suffers from is real only in the novel. The disease may be seen as a metaphor for the effect words can have on someone. Elyse’s story is indicative of some of the difficult times many pre-teens and teens suffer through in middle school.
I really loved this book. It took me a few chapters to really understand the underlying premise of the story. I believe few of us emerge from the middle school unscathed. ‘Sticks and Stones’ is a really important book for any middle schoolers to read. Although the outer signs of Elyse’s disease are make believe, the inward scares are all too real.
I loved that Elyse’s feelings about her disease evolved through the story. Her relationship with herself and her disease moved to one of shame and self-consciousness and acceptance. I also loved the characters. I felt the character development was amazing. Both the pre-teens and the adults were real but also flawed. I especially loved Elyse’s ‘helicopter mom’ , her grumpy teacher ‘Ms. Sigafiss’ and her very hairy principle, Mr.Todd.
The basic premise of ‘ Sticks and Stones’ is, you must except yourself for who you are and not worry about the words that others use to describe you. I think in today’s world. there are a million ways for children to be bullied. Self-acceptance is an amazing lesson to learn. I highly recommend this novel, especially for anyone who are currently struggling with themselves.
Middle grader readers, get ready to fall in love with Elyse! For someone dealing with such a seemingly traumatic problem, Elyse rarely lets it get the best of her. She's a protagonist so easy to identify with and to root for, even if she keeps some of her best personality traits to herself at first. Cooper manages what could be a heavy or didactic topic with so much humor and heart. Elyse's inner dialogue is laugh-out-loud funny at many points--particularly as she manages her relationship with her second boyfriend, Nice Andy (oh, haven't we all been there before!). She's a completely authentic contemporary American middle schooler.
I can't wait to read Abby Cooper's next book!
This book offers a great chance to look at the impact of our words on other and the impact of our self-talk on ourselves. So good, and a great discovery story of finding worth in each individual's skills, talents, and goals. Fun and quick to read.
Pros: A fun and interesting take on the theme of rising above what others say about you. Readers will cheer for Elyse and she moves through sixth grade into a hard-won confidence.
Cons: It seemed unlikely that anyone as shy and insecure as Elyse would be one of the select few chosen as a candidate for Explorer Leader.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The main character, Elyse, is not your typical Middle Grader in many ways (and not just because she loves soup as much as most...Read more