Not If I Can Help It by Carolyn Mackler

Published by Scholastic Press

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Summary:  Willa’s having a good year in fifth grade: she’s learned to manage her Sensory Processing Disorder well enough that she doesn’t feel like the weird kid at school anymore, and she and her best friend Ruby are enjoying the second year of their friendship.  But when her dad and Ruby’s mom announce that they’re dating, Willa feels like she’s thrown off balance; when it turns out they’ve decided to get married, she’s not sure she can handle so much change. Willa has never told Ruby about her twice-a-week occupational therapy appointments that help her handle the stress of her disorder, and she worries that their friendship will suffer when Ruby learns about some of the other “weird” things Willa does to manage.  As their families slowly start to blend together, Willa learns that she’s not the only one who worries what others think, and that honesty is the best way to go with true friends. 240 pages; grades 3-6.

Pros:  I’m always pretty confident that Scholastic will produce books with plenty of kid appeal, and this one proves that this is true.  Willa is a fun and interesting narrator whom readers will relate to, and the facts about her SPD are woven seamlessly into the plot. Lots of kids will connect with the whole blended family stuff as well.

Cons:  When Willa finally gets the dog of her dreams, she names her Gummy.  I know she loves gummy bears, but come on, that is a terrible name.

If you would like to buy this book on Amazon, click here.

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