Title: Sticks & Stones
Author: Abby Cooper
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Fiction
Date Published: 12th of July 2016
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Source: eARC, provided by NetGalley
Rating: 4.51/5 stars on Goodreads
Buy it on: Amazon / TBD
Ever since she was a baby, the words people use to describe Elyse have instantly appeared on her arms and legs. At first it was just “cute” and “adorable,” but as she’s gotten older and kids have gotten meaner, words like “loser” and “pathetic” appear, and those words bubble up and itch. And then there are words like “interesting,” which she’s not really sure how to feel about. Now, at age twelve, she’s starting middle school, and just when her friends who used to accept and protect her are drifting away, she receives an anonymous note saying “I know who you are, and I know what you’re dealing with. I want to help.” As Elyse works to solve the mystery of who is sending her these notes, she also finds new ways to accept who she is and to become her best self.
Where do I begin with this story? I came into it with low expectations, but it came out better than I expected. I always root for a story of the underdog, who does not only want to prove something to others, but has something to prove for herself. It is great to admire someone such as Elyse. Her medical condition is ridiculous, and everyone knows that sometimes other kids can be mean. Elyse is a one-of-a-kind character who has a lot going on in her head, and all she needed was a little push. She’s that kind of girl who is just like every other girl, and she’s on her way to knowing that. I have not read a lot of middle grade stories, but this one has a nice ring to it.
I also loved how it also focuses on the growth of the people around her. As Elyse turns into a stronger person, so do the people around her. They accept the difference and become more open with each other. I do want to read Jeg’s perspective though, because she seems to take my curiosity in all of the matter. I loved her relationship with her parents, mostly. They are wonderful to have let Elyse do all of the things her heart wants.
It also shows how the words we say can affect other people in a certain way. The story is beautifully written, and is equally charming. Even if everyone was practically paving their own ways as well, Elyse stood up to herself, with the guidance of the one with the blue notes. All I have to say that the character writing the blue notes is like a guardian angel. The character was a great addition to the story and her reveal was equally brilliant. There may be side problems here and there, but the story developed its main character into a self-loving individual who inspires other people. I forgot how great it is to read these kinds of uplifting stories, because you never know what lessons you’re going to get.
Connect with Abby!
Abby Cooper lives in Minnesota with her miniature poodle, Louis, and a whole bunch of books. A former teacher and school librarian, her favorite things in the world (besides writing) are getting and giving book recommendations and sharing her love of reading with others. In her spare time, she likes eating cupcakes, running along the Mississippi River, and watching a lot of bad reality TV.
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