Braced by Alyson Gerber is out today, and I am so excited for the world to read this story! This well-written middle grade and young adult story about a middle school girl with scoliosis blends a very heartfelt account (based on the author’s experiences as a child) of being in a back brace and the accompanying blow to her self-confidence, with a realistic and warm story of friendship and middle school and soccer and boys. This is the first book I have encountered on the topic of scoliosis since I read Deenie by Judy Blume when I was in middle school in the 90s. There is an author’s note at the end of Braced about Gerber’s own experiences with scoliosis, as well as resources for kids experiencing the same struggles she did. While the issue in this book is a specific one, Rachel’s efforts to deal with being different will be relatable to pretty much every teen and tween in our world today.
Here is the official book description:
The first contemporary novel about a disorder that bends the lives of ten percent of all teenagers: scoliosis. Rachel Brooks is excited for the new school year. She’s finally earned a place as a forward on her soccer team. Her best friends make everything fun. And she really likes Tate, and she’s pretty sure he likes her back. After one last appointment with her scoliosis doctor, this will be her best year yet.
Then the doctor delivers some terrible news: The sideways curve in Rachel’s spine has gotten worse, and she needs to wear a back brace twenty-three hours a day. The brace wraps her in hard plastic from shoulder blades to hips. It changes how her clothes fit, how she kicks a ball, and how everyone sees her–even her friends and Tate. But as Rachel confronts all the challenges the brace presents, the biggest change of all may lie in how she sees herself.
(I received an e-ARC of this book from Edelweiss- all opinions are my own)