Format: Paperback, 272 pages
Publication: May 18, 2021 by Scholastic Inc.
Synopsis: Sarah loves basketball more than anything. Crushing it on the court makes her feel like she matters. And it’s the only thing that helps her ignore how much it hurts when her mom forgets to feed her.
But lately Sarah can’t even play basketball right. She’s slower now and missing shots she should be able to make. Her body doesn’t feel like it’s her own anymore. She’s worried that changing herself back to how she used to be is the only way she can take control over what’s happening.
When Sarah’s crush asks her to be partners in a cooking competition, she feels pulled in a million directions. She’ll have to dig deep to stand up for what she needs at home, be honest with her best friends, and accept that she doesn’t need to change to feel good about herself.
Before I start the review, please be aware that the book focuses heavily on eating disorders, which may be triggering!
This is such an important book that teenagers, both middle grade and young adult, need to read at least once. I’m so glad that middle grade books now feature problems that are actually quite common in middle school, whether society admits it or not. Eating disorders are rarely talked about in adult books, let alone a middle grade book, so I’m very glad I read this book.
Though I’m not into sports like Sarah, but I connected with her almost immediately. I struggled in the exact same way in middle school and earlier on in high school, but I never noticed until reading this book. There’s an overall theme of complicated relationships, whether they’re family, friends, or more, which I appreciated.
My only complaint is that the characters occasionally felt older than they actually were. Otherwise, I highly suggest this book if you don’t believe it will be triggering for you!
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book via Jean Book Nerd Tours in exchange for an honest review.
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Meet the Author
Alyson Gerber is the author of the critically-acclaimed, own-voices novels Braced and Focused published by Scholastic. Her third novel Taking Up Space will be in stores on May 18, 2021. She has an MFA from The New School in Writing for Children and lives in New York City with her family. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @AlysonGerber.
Braced, Focused, and Taking Up Space are all Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selections. Braced received three starred reviews and has been nominated for state book awards in Oklahoma, Indiana, New Hampshire, Virginia, South Dakota, and Georgia. Focused was picked as a best book of year by The Today Show, Kirkus Reviews, and A Mighty Girl and has been nominated for state book awards in Rhode Island, Oklahoma, and Michigan. Alyson’s latest novel, Taking Up Space, based on her experience with disordered eating, will be published on May 18, 2021. Taking Up Space will help readers recognize how much they matter and see that if something negative is taking up space in their minds, even if there isn’t a name for it, they should ask for help.
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Three winners will receive a copy of Taking up Space by Alyson Gerber