Growing Pangs by Kathryn Ormsbee, illustrated by Molly Brooks

Published by Random House Books for Young Readers

Summary:  Kathryn Ormsbee’s memoir begins the summer before sixth grade when Katie and her best friend Kacey are going off to camp for a week.  Katie feels like a bit of an oddball as a homeschooled kid with red hair, crooked teeth, and a secret about the obsessive thoughts she sometimes has when she’s feeling anxious.  Camp turns out to be good, though, except that Kacey starts acting cold when Katie makes a new friend.  Katie hopes that things will get better when their homeschool co-op starts up again, but the two friends seem to be moving in different directions.  On top of that, Katie learns she has to have dental surgery and her obsessive thoughts are getting worse.  A chance to act in a local theater production and a couple of new friends help the situation, but things really start to improve when she’s forced to tell her parents about her anxiety.  The last page sees Katie about to walk into a therapist’s office where she feels hopeful that she can get some help.  Includes an author’s notes with photos from her childhood and an artist’s note showing how she developed the art.  250 pages; grades 3-6.

Pros:  Another one for Raina fans that even deals with some similar topics (dental difficulties, anxiety).  Katie is a character many kids will relate to as she navigates the ups and downs of friendships and the beginnings of puberty.  I loved how the artist portrayed Katie’s OCD thoughts with buzzing bees, and I also loved the support that Katie’s parents showed when they finally found out what was going on with her.

Cons:  I was so curious to know how the therapist appointment went.  I hope we get a sequel.

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