Swartz, Elly. Finding Perfect
October 18th 2016 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
Molly is having a hard time. Her mother's job moved her to Canada, and since her parents were having marital trouble anyway, she's afraid that her mother won't move back. Her younger brother Ian is constantly in her stuff, but she is afraid that he will die. Older sister Kate is trying to keep up a calloused front, and their father is just too distracted by work to really notice what is going on. Molly's Friends Bridgett and Hannah are having their own problems, so there is nowhere that Molly feels she can go for help. The more problems life throws her way, the more Molly feels a need to tries to control her environment, and her fairly mild Obsessive Compulsive Disorder starts taking over more and more of her life. Finally, when she is a finalist at a school poetry slam, she is able to articulate her problems enough to get some help.
Strengths: This certainly captures the panic and uncertainty in Molly's life in a palpable way. Her family relationships and friends are seem very realistic.
Weaknesses: Starting with a poetry slam made this seem rather slow, and after she blew a test, I was surprised that her teacher didn't have her sent to a counselor to get to the bottom of her visible anxiety.
What I really think: Debating. I have the wonderful Tashjian Multiple Choice (1999) and Hesser's Kissing Doorknobs (1998) that don't circulate much. If LeGrand's Some Kind of Happiness resonates with your readers, definitely purchase this. Mental illness of all kinds seems to be an emerging trend in middle grade fiction.