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Always a Reason to Smile
Brenda Maxwell, a 13 year old living with anxiety disorder, befriends new student Elaine Richards, a 14 year old former cheerleader who is now in a wheelchair. As the friendship grows between Brenda and Elaine, they learn about life, death, popularity, self-esteem, and the values of friendship.
Paperback, 260 pages
Published September 12th 2013 by Createspace
(first published August 16th 2013)
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YA, recommended for gr. 7-10. The premise of the book was good - a high school girl with anxiety disorder befriends a new student, a former cheerleader now in a wheelchair. They both have things to learn from each other. I enjoyed it overall, but I felt like the author didn't quite capture the teenage mind. I don't know many young teens who regularly use words like "bombastic". The character, Brenda, is described as being bookish, but she is not the only one using this type of vocabulary. And a ...more
This book had a lot of heart and it was really easy for me to relate to. Like Brenda, I struggled with anxiety due to depression. One of the hardest things for me to do was explain to people who did not have depression how simple day to day interactions could be so nerve-wracking. This book also accurately captures middle school "drama". It makes me wonder how I survived those years. This gives an accurate description of bullying and how much of an impact it can have on young person. I also ...more