Sticks & Stones
Sticks & Stones by Abby Cooper is a feel-good middle grade debut with just a dash of magic...
Ever since she was a baby, the words people use to describe Elyse have instantly appeared on her arms and legs. At first it was just "cute" and "adorable," but as she's gotten older and kids have gotten meaner, words like "loser" and "pathetic" appear, and those words bubble up and itch. And then there are words like "interesting," which she's not really sure how to feel about.
Now, at age twelve, she's starting middle school, and just when her friends who used to accept and protect her are drifting away, she receives an anonymous note saying "I know who you are, and I know what you're dealing with. I want to help." As Elyse works to solve the mystery of who is sending her these notes, she also finds new ways to accept who she is and to become her best self.
Fans of Wonder by R.J. Palacio will enjoy this book for its similar writing style, compelling characters, and upbeat tone...A quirky, clever, and lighthearted look at what it means to accept oneself..." —School Library Journal
Sixth-grader Elyse was born with "cognadjivisibilitis," a disorder in which the words that anyone uses to describe Elyse appear on her body for weeks at a time. While nice words like "awesome" or "cool" are soothing, unkind words such as "dork" or "loser" itch a lot, and they're more prevalent now that Elyse's protective best friend has abandoned her for the mean popular girls. When someone starts leaving Elyse notes encouraging her to participate more in school, she learns to overcome her fears, make new friends, and become a leader. Self-acceptance is the key in Cooper's debut, but Elyse's struggle to get there is painfully realistic. Her interior thoughts and monthly letters to herself reveal a healthy sense of humor ("Holy high heels, he had eyeballs! That was a surprise considering he was such a furry guy"), but it's Elyse's kindness, perseverance, and smarts that help her rebuild her self-esteem. Cooper's stance on bullying is clear: words can and do hurt, but their power over you is only as strong as you allow them to be. Ages 10 12.