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4.23  ·  Rating details ·  1,741 ratings  ·  308 reviews
Rachel Brooks is excited for the new school year. She's finally earned a place as a forward on her soccer team. Her best friends make everything fun. And she really likes Tate, and she's pretty sure he likes her back. After one last appointment with her scoliosis doctor, this will be her best year yet.

Then the doctor delivers some terrible news: The sideways curve in Rache
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 28th 2017 by Scholastic Press
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Carol It is a very real treatment of the topic. Basically, because the author lived this during her own middle school years.

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It’s about time we got a modern scoliosis story. (Sorry, Judy Blume. I love you and Deenie, but times have changed.) Rachel Brooks just started seventh grade and has to wear a back brace. As she figures out how to function with a big, awkward turtle shell, she also deals with normal teenage things like friends and boys and soccer and dances. And bullying. Her mom went through the same thing at her age — and had surgery for it — and the “You’re so lucky; I had it so much worse” grates on Rachel. ...more
Katie Slivensky
Aug 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
BRACED is a story for anyone who's ever felt out of place. It's a story about inner strength and honesty, and I cannot sing high enough praises for this book. I absolutely loved it! I was glued to the pages reading this novel. Rachel is such a relatable main character, and I wanted all the best things for her. Scoliosis is not an uncommon condition, and I'm shocked that there are so few stories out there about it for kids. Alyson Gerber manages to portray the struggles and trials of dealing with ...more
Jen Petro-Roy
Jun 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Utterly fantastic. Such a necessary book in terms of the subject matter, but Gerber doesn't make it preachy in the slightest. Rachel is such a real, strong, and lovable character, and the author imbues even the minor characters with strengths and believable flaws. Loved this. ...more
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was extremely hard for me to read emotionally, because it reminded me of so many things I've tried to forget about being in a back brace. The insecurity and frustration, as well as the physical pain made this hard to get through, but I am so happy this book exists. Scoliosis affects you at possibly the worst age, when you're in middle school and people are literally the worst. It's a weird condition to be diagnosed with because people have a very vague understanding as to what scoliosi ...more
Even though I will always consider Judy Blume's Deenie a favourite (and my personal introduction to scoliosis and how horrible, painful and embarrassing having to wear a large back brace continuously with no relief can be for in particular teenagers), I do have to admit that yes, Alyson Gerber's Braced feels not only considerably more current and up-to-date than Deenie but is also much more informative and educational with regard to scoliosis as a condition and that indeed, not wearing a brace, ...more
Abby Cooper
Mar 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this! Awesome characters, unique, important story - all around great book.
Matthew Landis
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Gerber nails the this-can't-be-happening-reality that would beset any kid faced with wearing a back brace as they entered 7th grade. The tension in this book between Rachel and her mom—whose own scoliosis history lies central to the story—is spot on, as his Gerber's presentation of the flimsy, confusing nature of adolescent romance that TV so often boils down (incorrectly) to "She likes him and he likes her and it's all going to be perfect." Young adults looking to overcome trials will find Rach ...more
Apr 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Creating an authentic, pitch-perfect middle-grade voice is no mean feat, but Alyson Gerber does it beautifully in her middle-grade novel, BRACED. Gerber's impressive debut focuses on Rachel Brooks, a seventh-grade soccer star who is diagnosed with scoliosis. As a result, Rachel must wear a back brace until she stops growing. Her friends and family are supportive, but living in a back brace, as Rachel soon discovers, is far from easy -- especially when she's getting flak from her soccer teammates ...more
Mar 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017-releases
So not only was the brace stuff in this good and accurate (I didn't struggle like Rachel did, but I recognized so much of the process and could almost feel what it was like wearing it as I read), but this is also just a really good middle grade book? Complex, flawed characters with an emphasis on communication and understanding.

Before reading when the book was announced:
The first standalone novel about scoliosis since Deenie? So there are only 2 MG books about scoliosis, pretty much? Wow...

I did
S.F. Henson
Sep 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book gets all the stars! I absolutely adored the main character, Rachel. She's smart and tough and determined not to let anything get in her way, not even a clunky back brace or rude seventh grade boys (aren't seventh grade boys the worst?). Rachel is completely relatable, even though I've never had to wear a brace. Gerber opened my eyes to a brand new perspective and allowed me to feel just as restricted, and frustrated, and claustrophobic as Rachel. Excellent writing, excellent story. You ...more
K.L. Hallam
Jan 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
“Sometimes it’s easier to pretend to be someone else, especially when who you really are makes you feel sad.”

Twelve-year-old Rachel Brooks learns she must wear a back brace for scoliosis as her mother did, or risk a complicated surgery, in this intimate and heartfelt story.

At school, Coach Howard has just placed her forward on the team, (she’s that good) and while Rachel loves soccer more than anything, the brace now controls her life. If she misses another practice for a last-minute doctor’s
A deeply emotional five stars. I had--have, I suppose--scoliosis. I wore a brace for a year and a half and then had surgery. Sometimes this book made me frustrated because, as usual, it wasn't like that in that I didn't have the friends, the romance, that kind of emotional support. (I also don't remember being made fun of --and my brace had a neck ring--or being in much pain.) But when I finished the book, I just started sobbing.

(I sort of wish the book had been about her mom instead. Not really
Alexandra Ott
Oct 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
BRACED is so fantastic. Rachel is an entirely relatable and lovable character, and her struggle
to fit in while wearing her back brace feels so authentic. I love that all of the relationships--between Rachel and her parents and between Rachel and her friends--are complicated and challenging and not always perfect, but like all of Rachel's story, they are achingly real. This is such an important, necessary book, and also one that middle grade readers will adore. Highly recommend!
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. A powerful novel about an important subject matter with a fully-fleshed out, relatable MC whom you immediately adore... Rachel is strong, funny, and smart, with a voice and perspective that's honest and authentic. This is a wonderfully plotted, well-written book from a debut author about belonging/feeling out of place, identity, struggle, first crushes, scoliosis, soccer and friendship... I wholeheartedly recommend BRACED! ...more
I love books that make me wish I was back in the classroom. I cannot wait to hand this middle grade debut to every teen I know. Alyson Gerber combines the shocking "how can this be happening?" sense of being forced to wear a back brace just as you start 7th grade with the every day realities of family, friends, boyfriends and soccer practice in a pitch perfect way. Rachel is a completely relateable character - and every part of this book - from the doctor's visits to the first school dance rings ...more
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a great middle grade read about a girl with scoliosis and how she dealt with news about needing a brace while also juggling her emotions, friends, family, and her love of soccer. I especially loved the moments when Rachel, the main character, found moments of strength even amidst the gossip and comments about it from students in her grade. I found her to be a very believable and likable character, although not without her own flaws. A wonderful book sure to touch the hearts of young peo ...more
Apr 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have scoliosis, and have been braced for 2 1/2 years!!!! Not done yet!
My whole family, is made out of major book lovers! And I really needed a book that could put my pain and my journey into the words of a fictional character.
Thank you, so, so, much Alyson Gerber, for giving me the blessing of Braced!!!
I finished my little paperback copy today, and am handing the book to my mom, so I can hand it to my friends, so that they can understand my journey!
Thanks again!!!!
Ms. Yingling
Dec 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
EARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Rachel is very concerned about starting middle school and getting a good position on the soccer team. She is struggling with that fact that her mother is pregnant and her friends are not always all that nice to her. When her doctor tells her that her scoliosis is getting worse and she will have to wear a back brace 23 hours a day, she is sure that this is a horrible, horrible thing. To complicate matters, the scoliosis is genetic, and her mother wore a brace
Apr 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teen
Rachel is looking forward to a great year. She has two best friends and it’s looking like she may not just make the soccer team but may be playing forward. She even has a crush on a boy, Tate, in her class. Just as her plans start to take off though, she is hit with news about her scoliosis which has been being monitored for years. Rachel must wear a brace to correct the curve of her spine. She has to wear it 23 hours a day, every day. The brace changes how she can kick the soccer ball, how she ...more
T. Kathleen
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book.

I wore a brace as a teenager, and the experience was lonely and isolating. I felt so much shame about it, and that embarrassment stuck with me long after I stopped wearing the brace.

Reading Rachel's story was almost cathartic. She is such a strong, inspiring character, and there's so much truth and raw honesty in her story. Although she makes mistakes, Rachel is a character you can root for and learn from.

The relationships in the book are all excellent. The suppor
Ellie Terry
Seventh grader Rachel Brooks loves soccer, and this year, she's starting! Things couldn't be more exciting. But then she learns she must wear a back brace for scoliosis. It's awkward. It's hot. It's painful. It could ruin her life. But the thing I love MOST about this story, is that Rachel doesn't let it. This beautiful middle-grade novel will give readers the courage and strength they need to face whatever difficulties lie ahead for them personally. Highly recommended! ...more
Chelsea slytherink
Check out my blog for more reviews and other bookish posts! This is a spoiler-free review!

“I feel like a bad person as soon as the words come out of my mouth. It’s not true. Not really. I know surgery is hard and scary in a different, bigger way. But then I wouldn’t have to wear a brace to school and people wouldn’t be weirded out by me. They’d be worried.”

I received a hardcover copy from Scholastic through Disability in Kidlit in exchange for an honest review!

I was so excited to read Braced. I
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Gerber, Alyson Braced, 304 pages. Arthur A. Levine (Scholastic), MARCH 2017. $17. Content: G.

As 7th grade starts, Rachel is excited to become starter on her school’s soccer team. But, she has always known that there is possibility that she might have to wear a brace – her mother had her spine fused because of scoliosis and Rachel is a possible candidate. When the dreaded news is handed down, Rachel is sure that her life and her soccer career are over. Her friend, teammates, and school acquaintan
Kim Ventrella
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In her seventh grade year, Rachel Brooks plans to start on her school's soccer team, hang with her best friends and maybe get a boyfriend. She doesn't plan to wear a hard plastic back brace twenty-three hours a day that stretches from her shoulders to her hips.

Rachel needs the brace to prevent the curve in her spine, caused by scoliosis, from getting worse. She understands how important it is, but that doesn't alter the fact that the brace changes everything. Wearing clothes, playing soccer, eve
Ashley Holstrom
It's about time we got a modern scoliosis story. (Sorry, Judy Blume. I love you and Deenie, but times have changed.)

Rachel Brooks just started seventh grade and has to wear a back brace. As she figures out how to function with a big, awkward turtle shell, she also deals with normal teenager things like friends and boys and soccer and dances. And bullying. Her mom went through the same thing at her age — and had surgery for it — and the "You're so lucky; I had it so much worse" grates on Rachel.
Nov 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a book full of soccer, fun friendship, first crushes, and most of all, compassion. Our main character, Rachel, pretty much feels like her life is ruined when she's told she must wear a back brace 23-hours a day for her scoliosis. Vivid descriptions of the brace along with Rachel's observations will help reader understand Rachel's daily struggles, but Rachel is never a girl to be pitied. She is smart and STRONG (she is especially good at standing up for herself!) and tackles each and ever ...more
Although the fact that twelve-year-old Rachel Brooks must wear a heavy back brace to straighten her spine makes this book one that will draw many readers, what is most notable is how desperately some of her classmates try to fit in. If it's not appearance, it might be the truth about someone's family or how her mother died or disappointment in a beloved older brother. Rachel's scoliosis is a serious health concern, but she never allows herself to give up her dreams of playing soccer and trying t ...more
Libby May
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Guys. The cover. I loved it. So pretty, so well done. The butterfly wings and the brace at the same time? Totally well done.

I have a couple of things to say about the book itself.

First, I have to say that Rachel was a bit whiny.
Next, I don’t appreciate their line “Moms are the worst.” Really girls? If it wasn’t for mom’s you wouldn’t be here. Give them some slack. And some respect! They have been here like forever longer than you have!
I don’t understand why they didn’t evaluate more about the s
Kate Olson
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent middle grade and young adult book! This very well-written story about a middle school girl with scoliosis blends a very heartfelt account (based on the author's experiences as a child) of being in a back brace and the accompanying blow to her self-confidence, with a realistic and warm story of friendship and middle school and soccer and boys. There is an author's note about her own experiences with scoliosis and resources for kids experiencing the same struggles she did. While the issu ...more
Jan 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book. Loved Rachel's spirit and how she dealt with this. I had scoliosis when I was her age but I went straight to the surgery and no brace. After reading I think the brace might be worse. I did not care for her mothers attitude which I found at times to be unsympathetic. No one really thinks about how something like this can affect a teenager going to school and having to deal with usual teen issues. What's important to a teenager might seem like drama to another person but sometimes ...more
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Alyson Gerber is the author of the critically-acclaimed, own-voices novels Braced and Focused. Her third novel Taking Up Space will be in stores on May 18, 2021. She has an MFA from The New School in Writing for Children and lives in New York City with her family.

BRACED received three starred reviews, was a Junior Library Guild Selection, and has been nominated for state book awards in Oklahoma, I

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