Friday, October 12, 2018


38903003Morris, Chad and Brown, Shelly. Squint
October 2nd 2018 by Shadow Mountain
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Flint, who is very interested in drawing comic books, is now usually called "Squint" by his classmates because he is suffering from a degenerative eye disease the affects his corneas and gives him very poor vision. His classmates, who used to be friendly, now bully him. When McKell suddenly starts talking to him, he is wary that her motives are also devious, but she is friendly and invites him on a hike. She is kind, and Flint soon finds out that it is because her brother suffers from progeria and has a YouTube channel where he challenges people to go out and do things that he can no longer do. When Flint's eyes become so bad that he is eligible for a cornea transplant, he is out of school for a while, and upon his return he realizes that McKell has been out, too. Her brother has passed away, and she struggles with her grief and loss. Flint has been trying to finish a comic to submit to a contest, but once his vision improves, he fears it isn't very good. McKell is also shy and beset with anxiety over her own talents. She writes and performs music with a ukulele. She and Flint spend more time together and encourage each other to break out of their boxes and take chances.
Strengths: Flint is being raised by his grandparents because his mother has opted out of raising him. There isn't a lot of money, and both grandparents work hard to take care of Flint's needs. There is a growing number of books with grandparents assuming parental roles, which mirrors what is going on in society. There are not many books about children with impaired sight (Although Vrabel has both A Blind Guide To Stinkville and A Bind Guide to Normal, and there is the classic Beverly Butler Light a Single Candle (1962), which captivated me when I was in middle school.) McKell's experience with loss is well done, and the inclusion of a character with progeria is interesting, even if we don't see much of him before he passes away.
Weaknesses: I found it hard to believe that Flint's classmates would be so insensitive, although I'm sure that there are places where this is absolutely how people treat others. We had a student with diminishing sight, and as far as I could tell her classmates were kind and remained friends with her. The trajectory of some of the relationships from friends to bullying is well explained, but it was sad. We also had a student who was deaf, and the other students were almost TOO interested in being friends with her and talking about her challenges.
What I really think: Definitely purchasing. Even though Flint struggles on so many levels, he keeps trying and is generally upbeat.
Ms. Yingling

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