Summary: Stick with Me by Jennifer Blecher
In Stick with Me, Izzy and Wren, two very different 12-year-olds are unwittingly brought together at just the right time in their lives. Izzy, a sweet, creative artist with a love for stickers lives in Boston with her parents and older brother Nate. Her best friend, Phoebe is now friends with popular, not-so-nice girl, Daphne, and only hangs out with Izzy because their mothers who are best friends, make them.
Wren, on the other hand, is a determined figure skater whose little sister, Hannah has epilepsy. Wren is understandably upset when her parents mention that instead of spending her winter break practicing, they’ll be moving into a home several hours away to be closer to the hospital where Hannah will have brain surgery for epilepsy.
As Wren stays in Izzy’s room for the week (Izzy and her family move into their basement apartment), she has to deal with her emotions about her parents and sister, while attending theater camp with Izzy and her classmates. Izzy and Wren begin a tentative friendship, but a misunderstanding with Phoebe and Daphne threatens to ruin their connection.
I really liked this book — more than I did Blecher’s debut Out of Place. Both books have similar themes of bullying and female friendships, but in this one, the story is told from two perspectives. Wren and Izzy are nuanced characters. Izzy is sweet and hides her sadness about her strained relationship with Phoebe from her mother because she doesn’t want to be a burden. However, she releases most of those emotions by drawing not-so-nice comics about Daphne and Phoebe. Wren is angsty because although she loves her sister, like any healthy child in a family with a sick sibling, her needs are often relegated to second place — and reasonably so sometimes.
I liked Wren’s passion for ice skating and Izzy’s talent for art. I also loved Izzy’s relationship with Nate, and both girls’ realistic, warm relationships with their parents and families. Blecher understands the ache of feeling left out and Izzy’s response to being dumped by her best friend will touch anyone who’s ever felt that way. I liked the camp scenes and just reading about the daily comings and goings of both girls; this book is a true slice-of-life novel with that still manages to have strong plot points and a satisfying resolution.
Overall: Stick with Me by Jennifer Blecher
Jennifer Blecher’s Stick with Me is a heartwarming middle-grade book about finding friendship in unexpected places. This sophomore novel explores female friendships, bullying in middle school, life with a sick sibling, and pursuing artistic passions and a love for ice skating. Readers who enjoy family-centered novels and books featuring strong female protagonists will enjoy this one.
Stick with Me is out November 3. Don’t miss my interview with Jennifer Blecher TOMORROW!
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I received an electronic ARC of this book from Harper Collins in exchange for an honest review.
More Middle-Grade Book Reviews
- A Thousand Questions by Saadia Faruqi
- A Place at the Table by Laura Shovan and Saadia Faruqi
- Turning Point by Paula Chase
Have you read this book or any other book by Jennifer Blecher? What are your favorite middle-grade books about bullying? I’d love to hear!
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