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Just Like Jackie by Lindsey Stoddard

There are some books that are so good that you just can’t help but losing sleep over.  Even though you wake up feeling tired, it’s a tingly good tired because your heart feels deliciously full with what you read.  That was this book.  Just Like Jackie is the story of Robinson, a girl who is much more comfortable on the baseball diamond and fixing cars with her grandfather then hanging out with the girls at school.  But her grandfather’s memory is starting to fade, and with a mother who died when she was a baby and no father in the picture, her grandfather is the only branch in her family tree.  It doesn’t help that she can’t control her temper and attacks the school pretty boy bully, Alex Carter.  Now Robinson is stuck in a school guidance peer group, where letting go of her emotions could mean a visit from Child Protective Services.

The development of the characters and spunkiness of the protagonist was genius.  I really liked how much the children in the guidance group learned that outside appearance does not reflect what is going on behind closed doors and the importance of being kind.  The realistic ending was brilliant, and yes, I cried joyful tears.  And this is a debut author… WHAT???  This librarian can’t wait for more.  If you are in the market for a book club read for middle grade or just looking for a great realistic fiction book, I highly recommend this one. – written by Rebecca Teglas