MMGM: Braced

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HELLO EVERYBODY! I’ve been gone for…two months now? A little more actually. I have some excuses, but they’re sort of mostly lame. The first one makes sense, for a few weeks there I was really busy with the end of the school year, but this whole summer so far I haven’t done any MMGMs because I either

  1. Was feeling too lazy to write anything/forgot to write something
  2. Didn’t read a middle grade book that week

I’ve been reading a lot of older books lately, which is good too because I like diversity in my reading genres/categories/age levels, but it felt good to read a middle grade book this week! Or, actually, on Saturday morning. I really loved this book (not that it doesn’t have its flaws, which I will definitely point out soon) BUT it was really different and good at getting you to be able to relate to what the characters are going through, even though having a back brace is probably something you’ve never even thought about before. Speaking of back braces, let’s get on to the summary:

Rachel Brooks is excited for the new school year. She’s finally earned a place as a forward on her soccer team. Her best friends make everything fun. And she really likes Tate, and she’s pretty sure he likes her back. After one last appointment with her scoliosis doctor, this will be her best year yet. Then the doctor delivers some terrible news: The sideways curve in Rachel’s spine has gotten worse, and she needs to wear a back brace twenty-three hours a day. The brace wraps her in hard plastic from shoulder blades to hips. It changes how her clothes fit, how she kicks a ball, and how everyone sees her — even her friends and Tate. But as Rachel confronts all the challenges the brace presents, the biggest change of all may lie in how she sees herself. Written by a debut author who wore a brace of her own, Braced is the inspiring, heartfelt story of a girl learning to manage the many curves life throws her way.

I’m going to list three things I liked, and three things I didn’t like, and then I’m going to do sort of a recommendation paragraph where I say who I think might like it.

WHAT I LIKED

  1. SOCCER YAY. Okay I might just feel this way because I really like soccer but I feel like soccer is underrepresented in books? Like there’s lots of basketball and football and baseball mentioned in books which are great too but anytime I see a book about soccer it makes me happy. 🙂
  2. Well written friendships!!! Sooo for a little while I felt like I do with a loooot of books like why? are her friends perfect??? But then you saw their FLAWS and they said MEAN STUFF and they got OVERWHELMED by Rachel’s back brace, which obviously is bad for Rachel but what’s bad for the main character is good for the book. 😉 Like, yeah, her friends are awesome, and I actually like them, but they are seventh grade girls, and they felt real.
  3. Well written seventh graders. LOL I think that “overexaggerated seventh graders” is going to be one of the things on my dislike list because of certain things but I’m actually going back and forth on this because yeah they’re seventh graders and they’re insecure and only starting to mature and they’re squealy and giggly and can be petty and I liked that that was in there but then sometimes I was like yeah right that’s overdoing it. People don’t act like that. And then I was like but I’m not in seventh grade anymore?? And I went to a weird school?? (A super nice one but a super small one) So maybe people do act like that? I don’t know but if any of you had a more normal seventh grade experience I would love to hear your input on how accurate BRACED is.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE

  1. Over exaggerated seventh graders. Okay, let’s just talk about their speech. They were talking about dating people and they said, “OMG you guys are totes going to be BF/GF.” (More or less. That’s not an exact quote but close) Did they pronounce those letters every time? Why can’t they just say boyfriend and girlfriend? Am I using too many question marks in this post?
  2. SPOILERS IN THIS PART.  Tate. (For like 3 chapters) Rachel and him were at their seventh grade formal, not technically together, but it was implied, and he takes her outside and says that she looks pretty and then kisses her and then his friend comes out and says somethin like what’s happening out here? And Rachel says something like “We like each other, get over it.” And Tate’s friend says something like “Oh, I didn’t know you were into freaks now, Tate.” And Tate’s just like whaaaaatt nooooo I don’t like her I don’t know what she’s talking about? It was very angering I must say. And then, to be fair, he explains himself somewhat about why he’s so loyal to his friend and things are sort of okay? But I felt like, it was good that she accepted his apology of course, but then they got together again really soon? By the end I was like okay okay Tate is cool but that part made me sooooo mad. Which actually I guess is a good thing maybe? Because good writing makes you feel things?
  3. Okay this is a sort of random thing I just thought of but on the front cover Rachel has wings, and I wish the author would have done more with that symbolism wise, though of course she probably didn’t see the cover until she had finished the whole book… but just I liked the idea of the wings and I wish the author had built more off of that.

 

RECOMMENDATION:

People with scoliosis should really read this book because one main theme is that people with lesser known/talked about medical conditions are not alone, and also there is a great list of scoliosis community and help websites in the back of the book for people with scoliosis. Also, people who like books with friendship themes, because all the friendships in this book were really engaging. 🙂

 

I APOLOGIZE FOR THE RAMBLY REVIEW. I have a cold… So I guess I can blame my lack of good word choice on that? I really want to keep up to date with this from now on as much as possible, because I really love middle grade and I love hearing your feedback on what you liked and didn’t like about books and what books you recommend! Next week I will use less question marks, promise. <3

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