Life in the Balance
Life in the Balance
Publisher's Hardcover14.44
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Annotation: As she worries about her mother who is entering a rehab facility for alcoholism, eleven-year-old Veronica struggles with secrets, her favorite sport softball, and what she really wants to do with her life.
Catalog Number: #221476
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Copyright Date: 2021
Edition Date: 2021
Pages: 265 pages
Availability: Out of Stock from Publisher
ISBN: 1-250-61973-4
ISBN 13: 978-1-250-61973-0
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2020020175
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
After Mom's alcoholism has created anger within the family and a problem at work, she leaves to spend eight weeks in rehab. Dad takes a second job and has little time for Veronica. Just when she's worked up the courage to tell Claudia, her best friend, about the situation, Claudia preempts her with the news of her parents' divorce. Reluctant to add to her friend's distress, Veronica doesn't tell her, but when Claudia discovers the secret, she feels hurt that Veronica didn't confide in her. A heart-to-heart talk sets their friendship back on course, but it will be a long time before Veronica feels that her family is right again. Still, a support group offers a gleam of hope. Petro-Roy, whose Good Enough (2019) portrays a 12-year-old at a treatment center for anorexia, writes with clarity and avoids suggesting that alcoholism is easy to manage or to live with. Given that Veronica's a sixth-grader whose family is in distress, it seems natural that friendship lies at the heart of this very readable story.
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 3-7 A young white girl struggles to deal with her mother's alcohol addiction. Only weeks before the All-Stars Softball Team tryouts, Veronica's parents announce that her mom will be going to rehab for two months. Not only will her mom be unable to help her prepare, but their financial situation means Veronica might not even be able to play. When her teammate Libby reaches out, the two new friends hatch a plan to enter a local talent show, hoping that the first place prize money will allow her to pay for the All-Star team. This marvelous middle grade novel provides an honest depiction of alcoholism and addiction. Petro-Roy's description of Veronica's anxiety will be relatable to many readers, as will her hope upon finding people with whom she can share her concerns. The author deftly describes Veronica's mounting responsibility and frustration as a result of her mother's addiction. As the child of an addict, she feels compelled to take on more and more responsibility to help her mother recover. Eventually, she expresses these feelings to her family in a gut-wrenching, powerful display of her growth. Veronica's internal dialogue is authentic, and though adults and friends offer compassion and wisdom, Veronica ultimately chooses her own path toward happiness. VERDICT A first purchase. Hand this to readers who don't mind a few tears on their way to a happy ending. Laken Hottle, Providence Community Lib.
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
School Library Journal Starred Review (1/1/21)
ALA Booklist (1/1/21)
Word Count: 59,058
Reading Level: 4.4
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.4 / points: 9.0 / quiz: 512912 / grade: Middle Grades
Lexile: 690L

Veronica struggles to balance softball, friends, and family turmoil in this new honest and heartfelt middle grade novel by Jen Petro-Roy, Life in the Balance . Veronica Conway has been looking forward to trying out for the All-Star softball team for years. She's practically been playing the game since she was a baby. She should have this tryout on lock. Except right before tryouts, Veronica's mom announces that she's entering rehab for alcoholism, and her dad tells her that they may not be able to afford the fees needed to be on the team. Veronica decides to enter the town talent show in an effort to make her own money, but along the way discovers a new hobby that leads her to doubt her feelings for the game she thought she loved so much. Is her mom the only one learning balance, or can Veronica find a way to discover what she really wants to do with her life?

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