Sunday, October 20, 2019

Give and Take

Swartz, Elly. Give and Take
October 15th 2019 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Maggie has a strong, supportive family. Her father coaches her all girl trap shooting team, her older brother, Dillon, is generally supportive and not mean, and her younger brother Charlie is a trove of odd facts that make Maggie smile. But Maggie is struggling. Her grandmother passes away from complications due to Alzheimers, and Maggie was traumatized when her beloved grandmother didn't recognize her. Her father changes the members of the team, adding a boy and sending one girl to another team to balance the strengths. In addition, Maggie's family takes on a foster infant, Izzie, for just a little while, until her adoption is completed. This takes longer than it should, since a hurricane in the South affects the adoptive parents. Even though she is told from the beginning that the baby will not be with them long, Maggie doesn't want to let her go. Maggie has been dealing with all of her losses by compulsively saving small objects, like gum wrappers, Izzie's binky, and even milk cartons from school. When her mother finds one of her seven boxes (with ants in it!), she yells at her mother. Luckily, her mother realizes this is a problem, and schedules an appointment with a psychologist. Maggie doesn't want to go, but eventually finds that it helps to talk about her fears of forgetting people, and the tactics the doctor suggests to cut down on the hoarding seem to help. Unfortunately, her pet turtle, Bert, accidentally escapes when her brothers bring it to her grandfather's, and this does not help Maggie's anxiety. Eventually, Maggie learns to deal with her feelings and forgive her brothers so that she can engage in her life without so much fear.
Strengths: I really appreciated Maggie's strong family, as well as the fact that her mother got her into therapy immediately when it was clear she had a problem. I can't think of any other books involving trap shooting, so that was interesting. This is on trend with books like We Are Party People and Not if I Can Help It which depict children with similar issues.
Weaknesses: I am not convinced that tweens feel as strongly about babies as books portray; I remember being Maggie's age and living in fear that my parents would have another baby. It seemed like SUCH a bad idea, but a friend's mother was pregnant. My friend was also not very pleased.
What I really think: Interesting story with valid social concerns that are well addressed.Will purchase, if only so I can display this title with Sovern's The Meaning of Maggie (2014) and confuse everyone!

Ms. Yingling

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