This Might Hurt a Bit

336p. S. & S./Simon Pulse. Jun. 2019. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781534427174.
Gr 9 Up—Kirby has just moved to a new town in middle-of-nowhere farm country. His only two friends are Jake, who is not allowed at Kirby's house anymore, and PJ, the quirky, lovable one. Kirby hasn't told his new friends the real reason his family moved—his sister Melanie lost her battle with cancer. In fact, he hasn't even told his friends that he had a sister. After a prank gone awry, Kirby is forced to face his feelings about Melanie's death, but only after he survives an epically horrible day at school. Horner's YA debut is perfect for a high school reluctant reader. Teens will appreciate the depth of Kirby's character as they watch more and more get thrown at him throughout the day. Kirby faces emotional struggles with himself, his parents, and his friends, not to mention his social interactions at school with some less than forgiving bullies and school administrators. His friends Jake and PJ complement his character well, by showing just how much of one's choices are affected by one's friends. The ending feels genuine, as all bad days come to an end, one way or another.
VERDICT This book will need some talking up, but will be worth it. Recommended general purchase.

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