Saturday, October 12, 2019

Book Review: Give and Take by Elly Swartz

Maggie's beloved grandmother recently died after a bout with dementia. And now her family is fostering a pre-adoption baby, Izzie. Maggie already was dealing with her anxiety by hoarding, but the knowledge that this tiny baby she loves so much is going to leave and won't remember her, is too much for Maggie. Terrified that she will start to forget things as well, her hoarding kicks into overdrive. After a scary day when she screams at her mother for touching a box of her things, her parents bring her to a therapist who helps her deal with her feelings and with her not-good coping method.

Meanwhile, her all-girls trap shooting team gets a new member: a boy, Mason, and loses one of her friends, which throws Maggie for a further loop, even though it means the team is better. When her pet turtle goes missing in her grandfather's yard, will it be more than Maggie can cope with?

The hoarding is portrayed realistically (along with the defensive thinking that as long as she doesn't look like an episode of Hoarders and can still walk through her room, there's no problem here.) In fact, I think most of us will think back to a box in the closet filled with old birthday cards and movie ticket stubs and other mementos. Where do you draw the line?

Her family is lovingly portrayed, Maggie as the middle sister between two brothers has a lot of emotions on her back, and the issue of very-short-term infant fostering is an interesting and new one to me. As is the hobby of trap shooting. I really appreciated the author's creativity and research in not going with the usual suspects in both issues and after-school activities. There's an explanation at the end of research she did and further resources for anxiety and hoarding in children.

This review is a part of Kid Konnection, hosted by Booking Mama, a collection of children's book-related posts over the weekend.

This book is published by Farrar Straus and Giroux BYR, a division of Macmillan, my employer.

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