Monday, May 7, 2012

Bibliophile's Corner

If Only
by Carole Geithner

Flap Copy description:
If thirteen-year-old Corinna Burdette could have one wish, she knows exactly what it would be. When most girls her age are hoping for new cell phones or prettier hair, Corinna wishes her mother, Sophie, was alive again. She knows that dying is a normal part of life, but having her mother taken away from her the summer before the eighth grade wasn't part of the plan.

Now Corinna has to do the unthinkable: concentrate in school, play soccer, and hang out with friends, all as if nothing has happened. Corinna's dad tries to help, but he's dealing with his own grief. Her friends try, but they don't know what to say. Classmates whisper about her because she is "the girl whose mom died." While everyone else's life is moving along, Corinna feels hers has stopped - it's especially hard when, at any given moment, she feels like she might completely lose it. Even normal activities such as buying new clothes (her dad is clueless) or listening to music (which means sad songs) are laced with danger. But as Corinna's year progresses, surprising things begin to happen, including a discovery that leads to information she never knew about her mother.

My thoughts:
Carole Geithner's debut middle grage novel, If Only, deals with the journey of grief from the perspective of the young girl - Corinna. Ms. Geithner's many years of grief counseling as a clinical social worker have brought a truth and compassion to this heart-felt and hopeful novel. The author's characters seem to come alive with humor, honesty, and believability, as they grapple with typical adolescent issues. Corinna not only comes to terms with her mother's death, but also learns a lot about family, friends, and the importance of communication. I would highly recommend If Only to girls from the ages of 8 - 12; and to anyone dealing with the loss of a loved one.

(Note: Carole Sonnenfeld Geithner is married to Timothy Geithner - U.S. Treasury Secretary.)

To learn more about the author, Carole Geithner - click here:
http://carolegeithner.com/

6 comments:

  1. that is a great rec fordealing with loss! and we all need pointers on communication! thanks!

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    1. I agree, Tara. I was actually excited to read this since my MG protagonist falls into that common category of one who has lost a parent. Thanks!

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  2. Sounds like a realistic story of someone going through grief. I feel like there's a lot of that in YA, but not so much in middle grade.

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    1. I know what you mean, Theresa. In MG if the main character has lost a parent, it has usually occurred prior to the start of the story. Thanks for your comment!

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  3. This sounds like a touching and moving story. The fact that Ms. Geithner has experience as a grief counseling and clinical social worker intrigued me, too.

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    1. I was also amazed at how well Ms. Geithner integrated the current culture and language of today's MG kids. Thanks for your comment, Cynthia.

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