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Sticks & Stones

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3.96  ·  Rating details ·  1,061 ratings  ·  282 reviews
A feel-good middle grade debut with just a hint of magic about a girl who has a rare disorder that makes the words other people say about her appear on her body.

Ever since she was a baby, the words people use to describe Elyse have instantly appeared on her arms and legs. At first it was just "cute" and "adorable," but as she's gotten older and kids have gotten meaner, wor
...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published July 12th 2016 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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Abby Cooper Hey, thanks for writing! Yeah, I've got a couple things planned so far:
Saturday, July 23, 3-5, Arlington Hills Community Center - book launch party
…more
Hey, thanks for writing! Yeah, I've got a couple things planned so far:
Saturday, July 23, 3-5, Arlington Hills Community Center - book launch party
Saturday, August 6, 2:00, Barnes & Noble Roseville - reading/signing

You're definitely welcome to come to either/both events! :D(less)
Abby Cooper Similar! Wonder definitely inspired me when writing this book.

Community Reviews

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3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,061 ratings  ·  282 reviews


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Brooks Benjamin
Jan 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

If anyone ever tells you that all the good ideas in fiction have been used up, scoff at them. Scoff at them hard. Because Abby Cooper's book, Sticks and Stones, is proof that originality isn't dead.

I started reading this without taking a look at the synopsis on the back. I always do that, actually. Mainly because I can't wait to dive into another world, but also because I'm always afraid there will be a hint of a spoiler on there.
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Victoria Coe
Feb 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I received an advance reader copy of STICKS AND STONES by Abby Cooper in exchange for an honest review.

Wow! STICKS AND STONES is a really special middle grade book! It's delightfully voice-driven and character-driven, it's poignant and fun and funny, and best of all, it's about kindness. Not just kindness in terms of how we relate to others, but perhaps more importantly, the need to be kind to ourselves.

I can't wait for middle grade readers to connect with this book. They will be entertained, e
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Dee
Jul 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
So glad I got to read this one and will be pre-ordering my copy! The author did a great job of mixing serious issues with humor and fun. Elyse is a character who clearly has some struggles ahead of her and when she starts middle school we see them. The voice in this book is spot on and funny, which makes it easy to root for the main character.

It's such an interesting take on something like name-calling (that everyone deals with at some point) showing up in a physical form. It was great to watch
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Jen Malone
Jan 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I adored this book! The whole concept is brilliant and enough to make any middle school kid (er, and adult) cringe, but I especially love the twist that the names Elyse calls herself also start showing up. It's such a powerful while not-at-all-preachy book about self-esteem and learning to love oneself, flaws and all!
Emily Montjoy
May 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book needs to be on every middle school book shelf! The main character, Elyse, fights a genetic disease in which the words others say about her (good and bad) stick to her arms and legs like tattoos. Then the words she thinks about herself start showing up! Through mysterious encouraging letters, Elyse learns to believe in herself and to love herself just the way she is. This is a powerful story we can all learn from and carry with us. The words we say (and think) about others and ourselves ...more
Janet
Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What a great book! I read it in a day (out loud to my husband). Not only did I enjoy this book, but this is one I want my kids to read.

In this book, Cooper masterfully delves into questions of self-worth and the words we use to describe ourselves and others. If we had to wear the words we thought about ourselves, would we be more careful of our thoughts? If others had to wear the words we called them, would we be more careful of what we said? Questions that I need to ask myself more often. Ques
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Jennifer
Feb 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In the words of main character, Elyse, HOLY HIGH HEELS - this book was amazing! I LOVED IT!

It tells the story of a girl named Elyse who has CAV, a disease in which names she is called, both good and bad, show up on her skin. Harsh words like "freak" are painful and itch like crazy while words like "nice" are soothing. But the words stay with her for days or weeks at a time.

Middle schoolers are going to see themselves in these characters and in this story. It's so important. This story is about
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Olivia-Savannah  Roach
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I wasn’t quite sure to expect when I started to read Sticks & Stones. I had seen it compared to Wonder by R.J. Palacio which I had only finished reading months before starting this one. It made me incredibly wary because that novel was so unique and incredible, I was entirely sure this one shouldn’t be compared to it. It would have some pretty big boots to fill.


But this one was pretty different from Wonder, and I think it can stand quite alone. Wonder is based on a physical deformity while t
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Ruth Lehrer
Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky to receive an ARC of this 2016 book.
As a story of a person with a "rare" disease, STICKS AND STONES totally hits the nail on the head. What could have been a moralistic story about a disabled girl who is brave despite her suffering is instead funny and engaging. Details like trying to pass as 'normal,' hopefully asking the doctor if there has been any recent research that might lead to a cure, or having an over-protective mother who feels guilty for having passed on a bad gene, crea
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Michele Knott
May 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is going to be very very important for all middle grade classrooms and libraries to have.
Elizabeth Mathis
A feel-good middle grade debut with just a hint of magic about a girl who has a rare disorder that makes the words other people say about her appear on her body.

Ever since she was a baby, the words people use to describe Elyse have instantly appeared on her arms and legs. At first it was just "cute" and "adorable," but as she's gotten older and kids have gotten meaner, words like "loser" and "pathetic" appear, and those words bubble up and itch. And then there are words like "interesting," which
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Jenn Bishop
Jul 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Sixth grader Elyse deals with all of the problems that other middle schoolers face: crushes, weird teachers, school demands, fussy parents, etc., except there's one major difference. Since birth, Elyse has suffered from a rare condition in which the words people call her ("adorable," "dork," "loser") appear on her arms and legs, red and itchy, and lasting for days. Not the easiest thing to manage in the tough middle school years. Cooper's debut novel follows Elyse through an entire school year, ...more
Lee Malone
Jun 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'll leave it to other reviewers to tell you about the kickass premise (which Cooper fully explores), the adorable characters, and the neat twists and turns. I want to talk about voice. Middle grade, first person voice, which is one of the hardest to write well and yet Cooper manages to do it better than almost any book I've ever read. Elyse is real, hilarious, sometimes troubled, sometimes making bad decisions, but always just her sixth grade own self and completely engaging. I can't tell you t ...more
Elly Swartz
Jan 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Sticks & Stones is a truly unique and wonderful story. This mg novel is about the doubt and vulnerability we all feel at different times. In this story, however, main character Elyse’s insecurities are on display on her body for all to see. And, they itch. At least the bad ones. Elyse has to learn how to love herself for all she is and to forgive herself for all she isn’t. I truly fell in love with Elyse. While her disorder CAVs is an itchy and embarrassing pain, Elyse exhibits strength and ...more
Scott Fillner
Apr 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What an outstanding book for ALL. I just love the concept of the power of our words in this book. I think SO many will be able to relate and see themselves as many of the different characters in this story.

I am really excited that we will be able to get this book onto students hands as the year begins. The concept provides many different pathways to discuss the power and impact which words can have not only on others, but on ourselves too. Whether those words are spoken or thought, they can hav
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Melanie
May 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What a fabulous concept!

STICKS & STONES is about a familiar middle grade topic--bullying--but in a whole new way. Sixth grader Elyse has a very unusual condition called CAV, which makes the words that other people call her appear on her skin. Bad words are torturously itchy, while good words soothe. It's a concept that's so easy and intuitive, young readers are sure to be fascinated by the idea and curious to find out what happens to Elyse as she learns how to be comfortable in her own skin.
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Judy Sheehan
May 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Where was this book when I was growing up? Oh. Not written yet. Sigh....
I loved every page of this, and found myself daydreaming about it when I wasn't reading it. The whole idea that words impact us physically, tangibly, visibly is incredibly powerful. Add to that a narrator we love, and a writing style full of charm, and you've got your new favorite book: Sticks & Stones.
S.A. Larsen
May 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This story. One word. VOICE.

I honestly don't know if I've ever read a middle grade story with such a distinct voice. Elyse's tone is soft, hesitant, confused, intelligent, kind, wondrous, self-loathing, and mindful. Even when she ponders retaliating for means words said to her, the innocent-searching-I-want-to-be-who-I'm-supposed-to-be voice is there. All heart. She's real.

This tale is MG through and throughout. The numerous age appropriate almost there's, motions, phrases, and thoughts ginger
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Monica Tesler
Mar 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I adored this book! The concept is super clever, and the execution delivers. Elyse has grown up with CAV, a rare disorder that makes words people call her show up on her skin. As she starts sixth grade, the words she calls herself start appearing, too. While no one actually has CAV, everyone knows the experience of being called names, not to mention awful self-talk. Finding and holding onto self-esteem can be a challenge, particularly in middle school. Through the backdrop of a fictional disease ...more
Mrs. Montjoy's Class
May 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Sticks and stones is the best book. Every single child should read it. I learned an important lesson in this book. If I had words on my body, I wouldn't know what to do!! I hope everyone would learn how to be nice to someone if they were way different from you, or if they had a disease or something. Elyse, the main character that has CAV, I would totally be freaked out. Ever since she's had CAV, she's gotten better, but other people have gotten meaner.
Love,
Autumn
Sarah Shoo
Mar 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mg, read-2016, arc, family
What a fantastic middle-grade novel. Elyse was such a DELIGHTFUL narrator. I wish I'd had this book when I was in middle school, but I suppose instead I'll have to make it my goal to share it with as many preteens as I can.

ARC of book
Cara Cahill
May 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
Sticks and Stones is an amazing book about a girl named Elyse who seems like your run of the mill middle school girl. The only difference is that she wears the words of others and the words of her own mind on her arms and legs for all to see.

This book is one that I feel kids need to read. Students deal with the words of others on a daily basis. And just like Elyse, our students allow those words to shape who they are. This book focuses on learning to trust your own perception, and not rely on t
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Elizabeth Sack
Jun 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I got this book early thanks to the pick-a-free book prize thing at the library for the summer reading program. I must say that is is a perfect metaphor for going through life. It is a tad predictable, but it has plenty if character development and isn't boring. I honestly feel that all sixth graders or just middle schoolers in general should read this book. It has a great lesson I hope people get. I like that it took that path, and was its own original story, rather than a ripoff of another mid ...more
Harrison Schwartz
Nov 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Sticks and Stones is amazing! It is original and made me keep reading it. I couldn't put it down! This story shows how kindness can affect people, and I think the lesson is great. The plot twist at the end made me just say, "WHAT!?!". Out of all the things that could have happened, that surprised me the most, which made it even more fun to read. This is a great novel, and it should be a must read for MG readers!
Ki-Wing
Apr 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A truly poignant and funny book.

I started this book already enthralled with the premise, but what had me falling in love was its honest, earnest, and oh-so-charming main character. Author Abby Cooper pulls off the amazing feat of delving into a serious issue (self-esteem in middle school) in a way that is light-hearted and accessible.

I was lucky to receive this book as part of an ARC tour. I’ve pre-ordered a copy to keep.
Suze Lavender
Jul 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Elyse has CAV, a condition that makes the words people call her appear on her arms and legs. If someone's mean the words are itchy and it takes weeks for them to disappear. Her friend Jeg used to be by her side all the time to protect her, but at middle school things are different. Jeg has found new friends and she leaves Elyse behind. The new friends are mean to Elyse and for the first time she's lonely.

When a big contest at school is coming up Elyse starts to receive notes. She wants to be the
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Erika
Oct 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade, fantasy
To quote Elyse Everett, star of Abby Cooper's debut STICKS AND STONES, "holy high heels," am I ever glad I had a chance to read an early version of this book. There is so much to like about this MG story, starting with the amazing premise. Since she was a baby Elyse has been afflicted with Cognadjivisibilitis, or CAV, a rare genetic disorder that leaves her arms and legs covered--literally--in the compliments and criticisms that people level at her. Compliments feel great, but the bad stuff itch ...more
Jean
Apr 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mg-fiction
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Elyse was born with a condition that causes the words others to say about her to show up on her arms and legs. It's not a problem when words like ADORABLE and CUTE are comforting reminders of her family's love. But now Elyse is in middle school and words like NERD and LOSER cover her in an itchy rash. Unfortunately, some of those words are coming from Elyse herself. But someone believes in her and is leaving mysterious, encouraging
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Erin Petti
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Excellent, important, wonderfully written book!

I loved Sticks and Stones by Abby Cooper. The premise is so original and Cooper uses it to fully realize her characters and the Middle School experience. Though the device of having the words show up on her skin is a bit of fantasy - it uncovers a real truth in the way only great fiction can. That's how it feels to be called a "loser" when you are in 6th grade - like a painful tattoo. Elyse's character is so full and real - I love her blind spots, I
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Corabel Shofner
Jul 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book has such a clever slightly magical premise. Any words used to describe Elyse appear on her body, and in middle school those words can be quite cruel. The author, Abby Cooper should find these words on her body: gentle, generous, and gifted.
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Abby Cooper lives in Minnesota with her miniature poodle, Louis, and a whole bunch of books. A former teacher and school librarian, her favorite things in the world (besides writing) are getting and giving book recommendations and sharing her love of reading with others. In her spare time, she likes eating cupcakes, running along the Mississippi River, and watching a lot of bad reality TV.