Abby In Between

Penguin Workshop. Feb. 2022. 208p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780593226520.
Gr 3-5–Nine-year-old Abby McAdams is facing a lot of change as she starts fourth grade: her cousin and best friend, Zoe, is moving away, her mother is going back to work, and her father has been laid off. To top everything off, she’s stuck joining the after-school running club, and she’s noticing that her body is starting to change. When she learns about the issue of homelessness and its presence in her community, Abby realizes there must be something she can do to help. As she finds her voice, Abby discovers that some change can be surprisingly good. Bryant handles challenging, uncomfortable subjects with a lighthearted tone, allowing these topics to resonate with the younger end of middle grade readers. Abby learns about tiny house communities and corporate layoffs, and her mom learns that girls are going through puberty younger nowadays. These elements, alongside the evergreen challenges of growing up, create a story that is timely and universal. The conclusion feels like a ray of sunshine, empowering and hopeful, and will have readers eagerly awaiting the next book.
VERDICT Younger middle grade readers will identify with Abby’s journey in this series debut that can help them navigate the changes, big and small, that life presents.

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