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If This Were a Story
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If This Were a Story

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  276 ratings  ·  67 reviews
In the tradition of Crenshaw and The Thing About Jellyfish, ten-year-old Hannah copes with the bullies at school and troubles at home through the power of stories in this sweet and sincere debut.

Tenacious. That means strong-willed. My mother calls me that.

I wish I felt the same way.

If this were a story, I would discover I was a direct descendent of a famous soldier who
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published August 28th 2018 by Simon & Schuster
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Aug 01, 2018 rated it liked it
I'm not sure what I think about this book. The central character, Hannah, is certainly likable; sweet and earnest. Author Beth Turley does a good job of describing the sometimes tumultuous feelings sensitive children have, particularly in regards to the ever changing dynamics of peer relationships. Hannah often escapes into a fantasy world, imagining inanimate objects come to life. She explores her feelings via dialogue with these objects and imagines their responses. In the meantime, Hannah has ...more
Joanne Kelleher
Sep 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Hannah is a sad little girl. She has one questionable friend, one good friend, and one imaginary friend, but she is not a friend to herself. I couldn't figure out exactly what was wrong with her. Was she too gifted/introspective/analytical/sensitive/sad for the world? Was it Riley? Her parents? Everything? Was it vague on purpose? At any rate, the overall tone of the book was sad. It felt heavy to read, heavy to be Hannah.

The line "If this were a story" was repeated throughout the book,
Colby Sharp
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Loved this one!

Adding it to my list of awesome 2018 books.

Dec 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
Cleverly written. Sneaks up on you!
It is beautifully written, covers important topics, it's timely, relatable, and I actually think it's destined to become a classic. As I was reading this, I found myself analyzing the story, the text. I loved the way it was written with so many layers and so much meaning in each character and each paragraph. Maybe that's why I can see it as a classic - I can totally see kids studying it in school.
Hannah is dealing with bullies - both named and anonymous - and her parents won't stop fighting at
Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“We only see what people want us to see. We are all unreliable narrators.”

The truth is, we’re not coin collectors. We’re secret coin droppers.

“We lined up outside the ride. There was a sign hanging on the white fence. Pregnant women should not ride; people with heart conditions should not ride.
I thought, who doesn’t have a problem with their heart?”

“I feel like I’m in a story.”

He is a serious delight.

“I like to think that when I’m a hundred, I might be able to breathe in deeply and remember
Julie M. Ulrich
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jeanie  {coffee girl}
Aug 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
In the book, If This Were a Story Beth Turley shares about a ten year old girl named Hannah. Hannah is your typical fifth grade girl who attends school and keeps a reflective outlook on her day to day life. Written in short subject based chapters that could be easily read one at a time or several in one sitting based on the time the reader had. I believe these subjects are relevant to the fourth or fifth grade student: bullying, friendships, recess happenings, and family life at home.

One of the
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: children
If This Were a Story follows word- and story-loving Hannah Geller through the first leg of her fifth-grade year as she grapples with a tumultuous home life and anonymously written notes at school stating that “nobody [likes her].”

Unfortunately, throughout the novel, author Beth Turley exploits multiple tropes: Hannah’s best friend Courtney serves as her far more stereotypically feminine, and thus, far less empathetic foil. Ryan is Hannah’s Black/brown best friend who, despite having unemployed
"I wish I were in a story. Then I could rewrite things to end the way I want them to and erase all the bad parts."**

Hannah is a very unusual girl. She loves words, but she has a hard time talking to others about her troubles. "It's easier to store words up like emergency supplies than open my mouth and use them." Even her meetings with Ms. Meghan, the school counselor, don’t seem to get her to talk much. She does, however, have conversations with Ambrose, her stuffed elephant, who seems to
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Hannah is a ten year old girl who is gifted with a vibrant imagination, a natural disposition for introspection, and advanced vocabulary for her age. When she discovers an upsetting anonymous note written by a bully, it sparks a classroom-wide investigation over who wrote it, why they wrote it, and what can be done about it.

As Hannah is on the cusp of growing up and entering the next stage of her life, her introspection leads her to inner conflict and turmoil as she reflects on past and present
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
If This Were a Story by Beth Turley, 249 pages. Simon & Schuster, 2018. $17.
Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: PG; Violence: G.



Ten-year-old Hannah finds a note on her classroom floor saying that no one wants to be friends with her. This draws new people into her circle - a concerned counselor and a misunderstood bully, and highlights some the very complicated stresses she is under - parents who fight, friends who manipulate. Told
Mar 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade, ya
This is a must read for every middle-schooler, every parent of a middle-schooler, every teacher of a middle-schooler.... you get the idea. The tension is palpable; the characters are real. Well crafted and beautiful language make this a wonderful classroom read. The only device I found disconcerting and distracting was Hannah's consistent "If this were a story..." diversion. It became cumbersome after a time or four.
Maybe it counts as truth if it's the way I wish I felt. (50)
My life is becoming
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a beautifully written story that really makes you think.
Ten year old Hannah is in her final year of elementary school. She is dealing with some emotionally challenging events in the best way she knows how. But the question has to be asked ‘Are her coping mechanisms really helping her?’
I found the book a real challenge to read- I became overwhelmed with emotion and so many times wanted to walk away and not return. The sadness was almost unbearable. Which makes me wonder - would an 8 -12
Allison Volz
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
First, I have to say (without giving anything away) that love when an author is able to surprise me, especially when I am reading middle grade books! If I was surprised, most likely my students will be too, and with this book it will be pretty unexpected. This is a beautiful book about the struggles to fit in and hide what you’re dealing with outside of school. I also enjoyed the way the book is crafted - the short chapters will appeal to my young readers. I also liked how approachable for ...more
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I honestly hope there are not as many kids out there experiencing these kinds of issues, but it is a complicated world these days and what a blessing that kids have an opportunity to read and understand through a story what is happening to them and other kids around them. I was totally engrossed in the story and think that it will help some kids who read it get in touch with their own feelings. Hopefully they will also be able to reach out for help to someone that will encourage them to express ...more
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this story. Please don't let other reviewers' opinions of "sadness" deter you from this book. (They're adults, who have forgotten what childhood was like!) This book should be in every middle school classroom. Never shy away from the chance to let ALL kids see themselves in the books that they read--Beth Turley has created wonderful characters in a realistic setting, and then she does the impossible: she gives hope to readers who recognize their own world in her beautifully written, ...more
Laura Gardner
Oct 12, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a heavy, sad book that I think will struggle to find an audience. The writing is lovely, but Hannah's experience is overwhelmingly depressing. It wasn't easy to read. In addition, the chapters that are told from Ambrose the elephant's point of view are clever, but I suspect elementary readers will be confused by the switch in perspectives. It's also unclear whether the objects have voices due to magic, mental illness or something else. This book is being compared to Crenshaw by Katherine ...more
Bonnie Grover
Oct 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: student
Thank you to @bethturley for sharing this beautiful story with me. “Bullying hurts as hard a punch in the face, even if it doesn’t touch you.” This is a very real story for so many of our students. There are many layers to this story and I think many students will find themselves in this story. Hannah is a 5th grader who is unable to let sad thoughts escape her mind, and leaves heads-up pennies to spread good luck. Somehow she needs to find a little of that magic for herself. I’m sure it will be ...more
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Heartwarming story of a young girl who continues to try to find her place in her school and wants to please her parents at home. If she can do these things, she can possibly have her parents get along and school will be easier to get through. Hannah was a character that all adults can identify with and an easy one for any child who's ever been bullied can identify with. As the story unfolds, Hannah is left with some options to help things improve but just how far will she go to get what she ...more
Erin Cashman
Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
What a beautifully written, poignant book. I loved Hannah, who is struggling to find her place in school and with her friends, especially when she finds a note saying no one likes her. The book deals with a lot of issues that young readers also deal with: bullying, friendship, self-esteem, loyalty, stress at home. Yet the book isn't heavy, rather it's hopeful. And Hannah ends up being a lot stronger and more resilient than she realized. A must for all middle grade collections!
Deidre Fears
Nov 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a very true to times, realistic fiction book. Dealing with bullies and parents fighting is something that many kids face today. This book shows quirky 5th grade girl who copes with her issues using her imagination. I wish there were more books that had mature subjects in them for Juvenile ages. There is no age limit for mature subjects in the real world, so there shouldn't be an age limit for mature subjects in the books that they read.
Jul 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Mixed feelings about who the book is for and if a fifth grade reader would really get this book. I know we have more troubled children in this day and age but I wonder if this would be a better book for an 8th grade student to look back on. I am not sure. I guess it's hopeful but I would never want a child to experience this kind of homelife or to think that we are normalizing it by putting it in a book .
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Read this in one sitting. Well written, interesting structure w repetition, “ if this were a story...”. Great first line hook and lots of imagery. Enjoyed Hannah’s story and the unique way Turley writes/shares struggles with hurt, heart ache and anxiety. Lots to reflect/discuss esp the way Hannah expresses her self and her fears from parents arguing, bullying, friendship issues and overcoming all of the above. Feels more MS than MG.
Sep 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: net-galley-reads
This is an exquisitely written book on heavy subjects. The way Hannah sees the world is beautiful to read. But the story itself is sad and somewhat depressing. I felt like I was wading through a swamp and occasionally spotting a great blue heron. I think that is how the author meant for us to feel, but because of that, I only recommend this book to people with the emotional maturity to handle it.

Thank you to the publisher and Net Galley for allowing me to preview a digital arc.
I absolutely cherish this book with all my heart. It's essentially the story of me and my sentiments. Beth Turley is an amazing writer with the ability to weave profound and powerful emotions inside her story. I highly recommend reading it, but before you do make sure you turn on your empathic capacity, you'll need it to truly comprehend Hannah Geller's state of mind and the lessons Beth Turley has hidden in this extraordinary novel.

Read this book. I tell you. Read, this, book.
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
The story of Hannah, who is struggling with friends and at home. Full of realistic fifth grade issues, with a satisfying twist at the end. This story addresses bullying straight on, with intervention by the teacher, principal, counselor, police and parents.

Note: It also intersperses short counselor's notes throughout, shifting the POV.
Oct 19, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. This one left me feeling unsettled, not sure of how I felt about it in general and more specifically whether it would attract readers. Especially those readers who might benefit from it. It is well written but the subject matter is a weighty one. Might be a good choice for a classroom or book club read and discussion.
Be still, my heart.

This book was an excellent read to kick off my 2019. It took me on an emotional rollercoaster, probably because I could see bits of myself in Hannah, though some of the connections were vague, I remember some of those feelings.

Honestly, this was like watching an episode of This Is Us. ALL THE EMOTIONS.
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