Center of Gravity
Center of Gravity
Publisher's Hardcover14.44
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Annotation: When thirteen-year-old Tessa's father remarries months after her mother's death and moves them to California, Tessa must build a new life and friendships, while fighting a compulsion about missing children.
Catalog Number: #209575
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Pages: 234 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-250-19186-6
ISBN 13: 978-1-250-19186-1
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2019018626
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
It's 1985, and seventh grader Tessa is still dealing with her grief over her mother's recent death when her father makes a bombshell set of announcements: he's getting married to Lila, the girlfriend he has just introduced her to; Lila is several months pregnant; and they're all moving from Colorado to California. While Tessa worries about all the usual aspects of moving and stepfamilies, she also must deal with her grief-related compulsion to collect milk cartons, with their (then-ubiquitous) photos of missing children, which has made her the object of teasing. In Los Angeles, Tessa finds camaraderie with a group of neighborhood boys who appreciate her foosball skills. They enter a foosball tournament with the goal of using the prize money to help two of the boys escape their abusive mother, but as complications arise, Tessa learns to trust her own judgment, with her friends and at home. The first-person narration provides readers with an intimate view of Tessa's personality and how her compulsive rituals interfere with her life. The book's exploration of friendship is authentic (some of the boys are more accepting of Tessa than others), as is the portrayal of the fine line between tween independence and the need for sympathetic adults. The book's adult characters are not quite as rounded, with Tessa's father and Lila fluctuating between empathy and self-absorption, but they remain on the periphery, as the book stays focused on the inner lives of Tessa and her friends.
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Horn Book (4/1/20)
Reading Level: 4.0
Interest Level: 4-7
Lexile: 630L

Tessa has always been anxious, but it's become worse since her mother died a few months ago. To calm herself down she cuts out photos of missing kids--from milk cartons--and keeps them in a file. It helps her feel like she's not alone. Her friends are drifting away. Then worst of all, Tessa's dad announces suddenly that he's getting married--and that his fiancé is pregnant. His fiancé's parents gift them a house at the beach, and Tessa must move.As Tessa navigates new friendships with a group of misfit boys and a new stepmother, she realizes she must let go of old friends and old habits if she wants to regain control of her life. Once again, Shaunta Grimes delivers a character and story that will speak to many readers.

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