A funny and touching middle-grade read about being twelve years old, struggling with the indelicate symptoms of a chronic and life-altering illness, and falling for your first crush, at precisely the age where “everything about being a human feels overwhelmingly embarrassing”.
Our first person narrator, Alison (Al), lives with her mom above a Jewish bakery, run by the mother of Al’s best friend, the charming wannabe-actor Leo. As if being prepubescent isn’t enough, Al must deal with the newly diagnosed Crohn’s disease, a debilitating gastrointestinal disorder which many of us, including Al herself, know very little about. As Al learns about her disease, and comes to understand she is not alone, she also learns important lessons about love, and connection, and the trials, tribulations (and ultimate joys) of coming to accept herself, fully, exactly as she is.
A sweet and sensitive read, this is a book targeted for children aged ten to fourteen, but one that this adult reader thoroughly enjoyed. Highly recommended for any child contemplating their own uniqueness, this story neatly introduces the diversity in all of us, – sweeping us all up with a welcoming hug, a kiss on the forehead, and a luscious side-plate of chocolate chip cookies.
A great big thank you to the publisher @penguinrandomhouse and the author @jakewhosagirl for an ARC of this book. All thoughts presented are my own.