Sunday, February 10, 2013

If Only

Geithner, Carole. 2012. IF ONLY. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 9780545234993 [Suggested Grade Levels 5-8]

Corinna Burdette has had the worst summer of her young life. Her mother was diagnosed with cancer and quickly deteriorated before her eyes. Starting 8th grade, your teenage years, and going through puberty are tough enough for a girl, but to top it off with your mother dying is just about more than Corinna can handle. She is having a difficult time acting “normal” at school. Her classmates either don’t know what to say to her or whisper about her saying, “that’s the girl whose mom died.” Their casual mentions and complaints about their mothers bother Corinna and make her feel like she is all alone in her grief. Corinna joins a grief counseling group at school and realizes she isn’t alone in her grieving. She begins to feel that she can finally start to heal and appreciate the time she had with her mother.

Geithner takes the reader on Corinna Burdette’s year long journey from grieving to healing after the death of her mother. The author’s experience as a clinical social worker and dealing with the loss of her own mother helped shape the story of Corinna.   

Do not judge this book by its cover. If you decide not to read IF ONLY because of the unappealing cover, you will miss out on a touching story with characters that feel real and even though there is sadness there is also hope in the end.

Visit the author’s website: there bereavement resources and group discussion guides for the book. 

Other books about dealing with the death of a family member:
Erskine, Kathryn. MOCKINGBIRD: (Mok'ing-burd). ISBN 9780142417751
Klise, Kate. GROUNDED. ISBN 9780312570392
By Jane Jergensen


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