IF ONLY by Carole Geithner


Age Range: 10 - 14
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A detailed exploration of grief in one year of an eighth-grade girl's life.

It’s only been a few months since Corinna’s mom died of cancer, and her daily life is consumed with reminders of that fact. She can’t make herself throw away the expired containers of her mom’s favorite yogurt and still dials her mom’s cell phone number to hear her recorded message. She struggles with her friends’ casual mentions of their own mothers and doesn’t feel that she can talk to her bereaved father. But after joining a counseling group at school and discovering her mother’s old journal, Corinna begins to heal. As the anniversary of her mom’s death approaches, Corinna is able to face it armed with cherished memories and the anticipation of a family trip to Japan, a place that was special to her mother. Geithner was a clinical social worker before she was an author, and it shows. Corinna moves through the stages of grief with textbook precision, and too often her conversations with her friends or father sound like they come from an afterschool-special script on losing a family member. However, young teens who are dealing with this issue will easily identify with Corinna’s anger, confusion and eventual acceptance.   

Better for bibliotherapy than recreational reading. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-545-23499-3
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2012


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