Saturday, February 22, 2020

Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen!

Kapit, Sarah. Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen!
February 25th 2020 by Dial Books
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Vivy really wants to play baseball like V.J. Capello, whom she once met and who taught her how to throw a knuckleball. Her mother, however, is apprehensive. She doesn't think that baseball is safe for girls, and is concerned about how Vivy will do on the field, since she is on the Autism spectrum and occasionally struggles with talking to others and dealing with unaccustomed stimuli. Her social skills teacher has her write letters in order to help her learn to communicate with others, and she decides to write to Capello. The two eventually exchange letters and even start to correspond through e mail, after checking with her parents about it. She does fairly well on the team, although the coach's son Kyle is very mean to her. Alex, the catcher, befriends her and helps her out. When she is hit by a baseball and suffers a concussion, her mother is against her playing, and Vivy talks to Capello about her problems. Her older brother Nate is more distant than usual, and Vivy finds out it is because he is dating a boy on his baseball but is afraid of what their parents will say. Vivy is eventually cleared to play, convinces her mother that she will be okay, gets help dealing with Kyle, and continues to write to Capello after clearing up a misunderstanding.
Strengths: I liked that even though Vivy's mother was against her playing baseball, the coach and the father didn't think it odd at all, and some recent girls who played baseball are mentioned. Alex is a kind teammate who does all he can to support Vivy. The sub plot with the brother was interesting and showed a positive family interaction. It is good to see an #ownvoices narrative!
Weaknesses: It seemed odd that Kyle was so mean when his father was so supportive, and that he was able to get away with it. I've coached a number of runners on the autism spectrum, and the teams were always understanding of their differences. Vivy's behavior on the field is not that unusual, and nothing like some of the meltdowns that I have seen during meets! My school has an Autism unit, so perhaps our students are more aware.
What I really think: This is not as much as a baseball story as I was hoping; more of it deals with Vivy's difficulties. I also found that the letter writing stretched my credulity. Since epistolatory novels don't do well in my library, I'm debating.

Simon, Coco. Sugar, Spice, and Sprinkles (Sprinkle Sundays Book 9)
February 4th 2020 by Simon Spotlight
Library copy

Sierra is tired of always being considered "sweet", even though she does like to help out her friends. When she is on a Spirit Week committee and some of the members get mean about the school that Allie now attends, Sierra manages to finally stand up for herself. There is also, of course, a lot of ice cream.

This is a super fun series, but I hope it doesn't go as long as the Cupcake Diaries. I think I stopped at #22 with those, and only because I got the last eight on clearance from Reading Warehouse. Will probably stop with #10 on this Sprinkle Sundays series. Had my public or school library had these when I was ten, I would have read one every single day!
Ms. Yingling

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