A young, aspiring mechanic tries to get a grip on her anger at school before it reveals her worries at home.
Eleven-year-old Robinson Hart can handle just about anything on her own, whether it’s fixing cars, boiling Vermont maple sap into syrup, or playing baseball. The only thing she can’t seem to get a handle on is her temper. She tries to do as her grandpa asks and be calm like her namesake, Jackie Robinson, under pressure, and she tries to do as the school guidance counselor has suggested and run through her favorite baseball stats in hot moments. But some moments push Robbie over the edge, like when the school bully calls her a “motherless Robin” or when adults question her family just because her grandpa is black and she is white-presenting. Family is a sore spot for Robbie in general, not only because she knows so little about hers, but because she doesn’t want anyone to know that her grandpa—the only person who does know her family history—seems to be losing himself, forgetting which key opens the door or the end of his sentences or even Robbie’s name. Stoddard debuts with a quiet but powerful narrative that gently unpacks Alzheimer’s, centers mental health, and moves through the intimate and intense emotional landscape of family—what seems to break one and what can remake it.
Validating, heart-rending, and a deft blend of suffering and inspiration. (Fiction. 9-12)