Falling Over Sideways
Claire thinks she has problems, until the real ones begin. After her father's stroke, the whole family has to adjust to his new ways of doing things, and how to support him. Claire just wishes she had her old Dad back, and all of her problems - the mean girls who sneer at her boots, the boy at school who seems to live to torment her, the competition within her dance classes - they're still there, but she feels selfish for voicing those problems, compared to what her father is going through with his recovery.
Claire is relatably imperfect (she is self-absorbed, and she disappoints others), and while you might be frustrated with her, it makes the story so much more authentic. She's going through a hard thing, and lots of readers can relate to that, even if their difficulties are different. Sonnenblick does voice so incredibly well, blending humor with hardship, and this book is a particular gem. The relationships between the family members and the school friends (and enemies) are well-crafted. Yes, I cried at the end, and you will look forward to doing the same thing.
"One thing that keeps me up at night is the fear that the boys in my grade will never mature. Seriously, sometimes I look around my class, at Ryder making disgusting faces at me, or the two random boys in front of me attempting to burp the Pledge of Allegiance . . . and I shudder."
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