Gut Reaction

­Scholastic Audio. Mar. 2024. 554p. $24.99. ISBN 9781546117711.
Gr 3-7–Larson revealed in an SLJ guest post she needed 10 years of convincing by daughter Wyatt to write this book; she eventually agreed only if they worked together. The duo transform Wyatt’s Crohn’s disease experience into a richly layered story far beyond an excruciating diagnosis. Versatile Taylor warmly imbues the memorable cast with vibrantly distinct personalities (though we’ll pretend she didn’t garble Simon Nguyen’s name twice). Tess’s first-person narration allows Taylor to channel her protagonist’s expansive emotional growth. Being the new kid in eighth grade is hard; to feel less alone, Tess sends her late father texts. She’s an accomplished baker—“Dad 2.0”—but lately, most foods feel like knives shredding her insides. Learning she has Crohn’s is devastating, but family and friends—particularly new bestie Elly—help Tess live, laugh, and bake delectably.
VERDICT Readers with physical disabilities will find instant resonance here; any teen or tween reader will also likely appreciate.

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