Give and Take

Farrar. Oct. 2019. 320p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780374308216.
Gr 4-6–Twelve-year-old Maggie holds on to her memories—literally. She can’t stop herself from taking small items as reminders of special people and events in her life: Chinese takeout containers, milk cartons, dirt cups she used for a third grade project, gum wrappers, and a little sock that belongs to Izzie, a foster baby who is staying for “a speck of time” with Maggie’s family. Maggie desperately wishes her family would adopt Izzie, but there are other things she is fearful of forgetting, especially memories of her grandmother, who died and had dementia. By hiding boxes in her bedroom, Maggie is sure she will remember every treasured moment. But when her collection is threatened, Maggie’s explosive anger makes it clear to her concerned parents that she needs professional help. When her parents take her to a counselor, Maggie is initially resistant, but she learns how to let go of things and trust her heart to store her memories. Maggie is also a talented trapshooter, a sport underrepresented in books for young readers. When a boy is added to Maggie’s all-girls trapshooting squad, she makes a new friend who also strengthens her bonds with her teammates. Several of the novel’s strongest scenes belong to the distinctive secondary characters, including Maggie’s devoted grandfather and her fact-loving younger brother.
VERDICT This fast-paced and dialogue-heavy story may provide comfort and support to readers who have trouble processing their own strong emotions. A welcome addition to middle grade collections.–

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