Summary: Not If I Can Help It
In Not If I Can Help It, Willa has Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) which means among other things that she’s extra sensitive to certain normal sounds and textures. She’s also very clumsy and does not handle change well. Her parents are divorced and her mom is already remarried. She and brother spend weekends with her mother and weekdays with their dad.
Things are going fairly smoothly for Willa as she’s getting better at managing her SPD with her therapist’s help. Willa is also happy to have a best friend she gets along with — Ruby — and is looking forward to moving on to middle school.
However, when her father announces to her and Ruby that he and Ruby’s mother have been dating for over a year, Willa is distraught. She doesn’t want anything about her friendship with Ruby to change. She also doesn’t want her relationship with her dad and brother to change.
This is the first book I’ve read about SPD and it handles the condition brilliantly. Willa reads like a complex, fully-developed character. She’s well aware of the details of SPD, even though she can’t always control her responses to situations.
Not If I Can Help It also helped me build empathy. At first, I found Willa’s rigidity and avoidance of change to be frustrating. But after learning more about SPD, I couldn’t help but empathize with her. Her parents are also incredibly patient and love her very much.
Ruby is a solid character — Indian-American, plays soccer, has anxiety — and both girls share a heartwarming friendship. Even when they’re not on the same page, they support and respect each other. I loved the way the author developed their friendship and how much they both grew throughout the book.
This book is also a good middle-grade book about divorce and blended families. Between Willa’s parents and Ruby’s, it’s a real mix. Finally, I really liked the way the author resolved Willa’s issues with mean girl Avery.
Not If I Can Help It is a shining example of the way books can foster empathy. This middle-grade novel about a girl with sensory processing disorder is captivating and very realistic. It also features a soccer-loving Indian-American girl, childhood anxiety, and the mechanics of blending a family. I’d highly recommend this one to anyone curious about SPD and looking for a compelling middle-grade book. The audiobook is also excellent!Not If I Can Help It is a shinning example of the way books can foster empathy. This middle-grade novel about a girl with Sensory Processing Disorder is captivating and very realistic. Click To Tweet
Buy Not If I Can Help It on Amazon
Have you read this book or anything by Carolyn Mackler? What did you think? What are your favorite mental health related books? I’d love to know!