If You Read This

Delacorte. Aug. 2022. 176p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780593174005.
Gr 3-7–Set in Jamaica, Getten’s second novel begins when Brie wakes up on her 12th birthday, her third one since her mother died, ready for a party with all of her loved ones except for her father. Brie just wants to be a normal kid with a new phone; she also craves the attention of her father who is always working. Her big gift turns out to be a box of letters her mother wrote to her before she passed. Brie’s mother had a playful spirit, and it carries over into the messages she leaves for Brie—as does her sense that Brie and her father would need a way to repair their bond. Brie and her friends take off on a quest to find the key to a door that will ultimately give her a sense of peace, physically and spiritually. Readers will enjoy all of Getten’s characters, several of whom add levity to the hefty subject matter of a parent’s death. The strength of the story is in the vibrant community that rises up to support Brie when she acts rashly, knowing ultimately that she is a child mourning her mother and family. Readers who enjoyed Getten’s first novel, When Life Gives You Mangos and Suzanne LaFleur’s Eight Keys will love this as well.
VERDICT A sweet middle grade story where a father and daughter are brought together with the help of their loved ones to figure out their new normal. Recommended for young fiction collections.

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