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Rosie is uncommonly beautiful, and she’s always known that being the prettiest girl in town has afforded her some major perks. But when Rosie’s best friend, Maddie, returns from a summer abroad as a knockout in her own right, Rosie starts feeling unusually jealous. As their junior year advances, Rosie wrestles with Maddie’s newfound beauty and status while simultaneously discovering the dark side of her own looks—some men are starting to get grabby, and Maddie’s crush takes advantage of Rosie in a vulnerable moment, which causes even more problems with her friend. In the aftermath, Rosie is forced to reexamine how she feels about her appearance and reputation, and to confront her feelings of jealousy and self-doubt about her friendships. Rosie’s candid first-person narrative reveals the inner life of a girl waking up to the realities of her so-called luck, and explores the weight of wielding beauty and power. Maciel (Tease, 2014) offers readers a compelling, thought-provoking character study, which should invite them to consider things they may take for granted. — Lexi Walters Wright, First published April 28, 2017 (Booklist Online).
At 17, acerbic Reggie has a razor-sharp understanding of the depths of depression. “You feel equally alive and dead and have no idea how that’s even possible. And everything around you doesn’t feel so full anymore. And you can’t tell if the world is empty or if you are.” It’s a sentiment she doubts anyone else can understand—not her too-nice therapist or her God-fearing mom. But tattooed, Prozac-popping Snake does. He, too, knows clinical despair. And Reggie finds it annoying (OK, and somewhat charming) that he understands. As the two begin to explore what misanthropic romance may mean, they’re confounded by a circumstance even more troubling than their respective emotional unease: Snake’s ex-girlfriend Carla is due with his baby within weeks. As Reggie confronts the boundaries she’s erected to protect herself, Carla sees an opportunity for an unlikely camaraderie, all to Snake’s dismay. Taylor crafts an improbable but irresistible love triangle. This first novel is full of raw emotion, biting wit, and—unexpectedly—pure heart. — Lexi Walters Wright, First published April 15, 2017 (Booklist).
Dyslexia made Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer nervous about reading aloud for the audio version of her own book. But it can't stop her success.
We asked our Understood Facebook community what one thing people should know about their child with dyslexia. Here are their insightful responses.
When Scottish-born Storm was just 13 years old, her demo CD landed in the hands of rock legend Elton John. Within 24 hours, John himself invited her to open a concert for him. And from there, Storm’s singing career exploded overnight. Today, she is a music and fashion celebrity in her own right. And in her debut novel, Storm spins a rocket-to-fame tale loosely based on her own uncanny experiences, even using her own last name as the first for her protagonist. Pop Girl follows 14-year-old Storm as she yearns to become an entertainer. “Singing is my Thing. Totally and utterly my capital-T Thing,” she pines. She’s devastated to miss a national singing competition because of a Hawaiian family vacation, but, once in paradise, Storm literally stumbles into an opportunity to showcase her voice and talent on a scale even she could never have dreamed of. Charming but gauzy, Pop Girl is a literal art-imitating-life endeavor by an author who shows promise at excelling in yet another art form.
— Lexi Walters Wright, First published March 10, 2017 (Booklist Online).
What would you sacrifice to achieve perfection? Your most treasured pastime? Your very best friends? For Kara, it’s her loss of dignity that finally forces her to question just how much she’s willing to risk to maintain her veneer. In pursuit of stellar SAT scores—so that she can attend a college her demanding parents approve of—Kara makes a series of flawed decisions her old self (Perfect Kara) could never have dreamed of. She is quickly embroiled in a fast-paced scandal that threatens to unravel everything she’s worked for in high school. Yes, these choices introduce her to an alluring new world, filled with people she can’t believe she’s lucky enough to know. But if Kara makes the wrong move among this new crowd she’s enmeshed herself in, she may be forced to reveal the blemished truth she’s been hiding about herself. Falkoff’s sophomore novel is a thrilling peek inside the high cost of having it all, and the twisty reveal of secrets and scandals will appeal to fans of light thrillers. — Lexi Walters Wright,
First published February 10, 2017 (Booklist Online).
Arnold’s latest reveals how capricious first love—and our trust in it—can be. Nina, 16, is trying to make sense of the obsession she feels for her first boyfriend. “I know it isn’t okay to care this much about a boy. I know it’s not feminist, or whatever, to make all my decisions based on what Seth would think,” she chastises herself. Besides, she has grown up being told by her mother that all love has limits; it can’t just surge forth unbridled. Then, just as Nina and Seth’s relationship turns more intimate, he abandons her without explanation. In Nina’s grief, she explores the origins of her longing for love, recalling a trip she took with her mother to Italy to study statues of saints, intertwining the saints’ suffering with what she views as her own. Nina’s honest musings about her vapid relationship with Seth, as well as the relationship of her fickle parents, demonstrate a keen sense of introspection and self-respect. Smart, true, and devastating, this is brutally, necessarily forthcoming about the crags of teen courtship.
— Lexi Walters Wright,
First published February 15, 2017 (Booklist).
Whether or not your child has learning or attention issues you’re aware of, behavior issues can feel overwhelming. Following these steps can help as you try to figure out what’s behind your child’s actions.
Superpopular high-school athlete Grant Parker can do no wrong in his tiny town of Ashland, Tennessee. He has a coven of since-forever friends and an enviable girl by his side. Luke Grayson, the new kid in Ashland, can do no right. Kicked out of his D.C. prep school after a prank went awry, and sent to live with the father he barely knows, Luke just wants to fix up a muscle car and hightail out of town as soon as graduation rolls around. But Grant and Luke can’t keep their paths from crossing—not if jealous, maniacal Grant has anything to say about it. In fact, the more Luke tries to back away, the closer Grant gets. Each of his power plays escalate, until Grant’s final attempt to assert himself leaves his life in the balance, Luke’s future in limbo, and the question begged: Just how well do we know what we’re capable of when pushed to our limits? Far more than a mere bullying story, Spears’ latest is shockingly relatable, and she proves once again to be masterful at revealing the complex emotions and ambitions of teen boys. — Lexi Walters Wright, First published December 2, 2016 (Booklist Online).
Parents from the Understood Facebook community offer what they've learned about parenting a child with ADHD—and what they wish others knew.
The beloved star of the famed 'Mary Tyler Moore Show' had a tough time learning and making friends as a child. As an adult, she learned why: She has dyscalculia.
If you just learned your child has slow processing speed, follow these steps to figure out what to do next.
Burnout caused by stress is a common problem for kids with learning and attention issues. Learn the signs of burnout to watch out for in your child.
This eclectic group of singers, songwriters and performers have one thing in common: They all have learning and attention issues.