Clea is happy to be on the chess team, but if she can't keep her grades up, she can't play. And she can't seem to keep her grades up, no matter how long she studies or how hard she tries. Her parents and friends get frustrated when she forgets to do things she says she will do, and she feels critical of herself when she lets people down. Her parents want her to see a doctor in case she has ADHD, but Clea isn't sure what that will mean, or whether there's any way she'll be able to compete at chess.
This book is pretty obviously written to show people what it can be like to have ADHD, how it might be diagnosed and treated, and how it may affect others. In spite of this obvious purpose, the book has an interesting fictional arc. The complications are realistic - Clea's outbursts reveal private things about people, and she struggles to prioritize her work when unexpected things pop up in her life. The ending wraps up a bit too neatly, but it is good to show Clea learning to advocate for herself, and the ways her family, teachers, and friends can support her.
Although the book is set in middle school and discusses some crushes and first dates, the content would be appropriate for most fifth grade readers.
"You gave it your all. But you didn't follow the directions, and that's a big problem."
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