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Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen!

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  790 ratings  ·  195 reviews
In this epistolary middle grade novel, Vivy Cohen won't let autism stop her from playing baseball--not when she has a major-league pitcher as her pen pal.

Vivy Cohen wants to play baseball. Ever since her hero, Major League star pitcher VJ Capello, taught her how to throw a knuckleball at a family fun day for kids with autism, she's been perfecting her pitch. And now she kn
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published February 25th 2020 by Dial Books
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Average rating 4.10  · 
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CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨
Goodness, this was so sweet and so charming - and I learned so much about baseball?! (Note: I don't know anything about baseball.)

- Told in epistolary form, this follows Vivy Cohen, a Jewish autistic girl who LOVES baseball and writes letters to her knuckleballer idol, a Black baseball athlete, VJ Capello. And then one day, he writes back!
- I loved how the letter format was done. I was so engaged by Vivy's letters and shared her joy when VJ wrote back. I looked forward to seeing how each charact
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love this book so much. I helped coach my own autistic son's team the year he played until A Very Bad Thing happened and left him (understandably) afraid to keep playing.

Kapit perfectly captures the voice of a girl with a dream that almost nobody else wants her to have.

Like all the best baseball books, this one is about so much more than baseball. It's about dreams, relationships (good and bad), hero worship, family, and a very driven young girl determined to make her own choices.

I hope Kapit
Arianne Costner
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oh my gosh yessss. I got to read an early version of this book and it was SO charming. Vivy is a lovable protagonist with lots of passion/drive. There are enough sports in the book that it will interest kids who like sports, but not enough to discourage those who don't. A good balance. And the ownvoices aspect is really cool and needed in kidlit ...more
Jen (Pop! Goes The Reader)
Did you find this review helpful? Find more of my reviews at Pop! Goes The Reader!

“I don’t know if I can be the first girl in the major leagues. (…) For now I will just keep throwing knuckleballs. And they are going to be very, very knuckle-y.”

When autistic eleven-year-old Vivian ‘Vivy’ Jane Cohen is asked to write a letter to someone for her social skills group, few could have imagined that this simple correspondence would change her life forever. Vivy chooses to write to Vincent James ‘VJ’ Cap
May 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
this was a sweet book and I enjoyed reading. I don't know much about baseball, but I was cheering for Vivy until the end. ...more
Kellee Moye
2021 Schneider Family Book Award Middle Grade Honor
I don't often start reading a book the day I get my copy. But I just had to with this one.

This is honestly such an endearing book. There's something special about novels in letters, and it worked so well here. The entire correspondence between Vivy and the professional baseball player she writes to just oozes kindness, and it was amazing to read.

I can't quite put into words how important it is to me that I got to read this book. And because I'm saying this as an autistic adult, I can only imagin
Mar 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade, 2021
I absolutely adored this story about dreams, disability, and learning to advocate for yourself. Vivy is an incredible character—even though I'm not much of a sports fan myself, I found myself deeply invested in her baseball career because of her contagious enthusiasm! I especially loved Vivy's relationships with her family members; they were nuanced and complex, and meaningful and loving without always being easy. Highly recommended for lovers of good middle grade! ...more
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this epistolary novel. Hope it wins a bunch of kid lit prizes so it will get a good wide distribution.
Eva B.
Sometimes you read a book and it captures so many of the little details of being part of a specific group that it makes you want to stand up and shout "yes! yes, I do that too! I remember that!". I had that experience with LAST NIGHT AT THE TELEGRAPH CLUB and I had it here too. Sarah Kapit nails so many of the little details of being autistic and of being a baseball player (I assume the latter, anyways. I only ever played softball.).
I was admittedly a bit hesitant with this one since books that
Rachel Nelson
Nov 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
A confession time in three parts:
1.) On Tuesday, I checked out this book from the library because I'd just finished three major research papers in the span of a week and thought I'd reward myself with another middle grade novel (since I loved Genesis Begins Again so much).
2.) Last night, I got an email saying I'd been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. So, I'm quarantined in my dorm until next Friday.
3.) I didn't have any homework tonight, so I basically finished this enti
Richie Partington
Jan 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, box5
Richie’s Picks: GET A GRIP, VIVY COHEN! by Sarah Kapit, Dial, February 2020, 336p., ISBN: 978-0-5255-5418-9

“When I was thirteen, I was told to quit baseball because I was a girl. The message was delivered by the coach of a ‘co-ed” youth league, which was only co-ed because I was still playing in it. I decided during that stilted conversation that I would play forever.
My experience was hardly unusual. About 100,000 girls play baseball at the youth level at some point. Only about 1,400 girls go on
M. Wolkenstein
Aug 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was really into this book. Over the course of the story, I was more and more engaged. The main character is complex and interesting, and features something I always look for in a MG novel: sympathetic and interesting adults. Vivy's parents struggle and provide a realistic and nuanced challenge for Vivy to navigate. The baseball content is clearly well researched and natural, and I found the epistolary style to work: Vivy's relationship with a professional baseball player with struggles of his ...more
Gina Loveless
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cbmb-ba
I had a chance to read an ARC of this book and WOW. It delivers in every possible way. You want to get behind Vivy, let me tell you! Covers so many great topics for MGers to read about: team dynamics, bullying, autism, acceptance, verbalization. Sarah makes all of these topics accessible for the younger audience. Highly, highly recommend!
Brenda Kahn
I enjoyed the baseball in this epistolary novel, though I couldn't totally buy into the idea that an MLB pitcher would spend so much time corresponding with a fan. ...more
Feb 07, 2021 rated it liked it
Vivy Cohen won’t let anything stop her from playing baseball.
Vivy’s hero, VJ Capello, taught her how to throw a knuckleball years ago and it’s stuck with her. One day while practicing her pitch with her older brother, Coach K approaches and asks if she wants to join his son’s baseball team. Vivy’s mom is hesitant because she thinks Vivy should play softball and she’s worried because Vivy is #autistic. Once Vivy gets the go-ahead, she happily joins The Flying Squirrels and writes letters to he
Danni Green
Jun 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Extraordinarily good #ownvoices story! I highly recommend this.

cw: protagonist experiences bullying, sexism, ableism from other characters
Chana Stiefel
Apr 13, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, middle-grade
If you’re looking for the perfectly pitched middle grade book this spring, I highly recommend GET A GRIP, VIVY COHEN by Sarah Kapit. It’s a novel written in letters between Vivy, an autistic 11-year-old knuckleball pitcher, and her icon VJ Capello, a Major League pitcher.

A knuckleball is not a typical pitch, and Vivy is not your typical girl. When her mom worries that she’s the only girl on the team (plus she has a tendency to act out), Vivy writes to VJ for advice. Surprisingly, he writes back
May 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020_books
I thought this was a wonderful book about family relationships, autism, and baseball. I really liked the format of letters and emails, especially because it was like the story was in 1st person for Vivy, but then there were other perspectives. I think this format is really great, because in books when the perspective changes each chapter I have to look back at who’s speaking. Here it was so straight forward so I didn’t have to question who was talking. Overall, this book was awesome!
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've read through a pretty early version and later excerpts and it was delightfully written. I'm thrilled to have a well-written autistic protagonist hit the shelves, too! I especially enjoyed the strong voice of the character Vivy, and the struggle to prove oneself as disabled person is all too real. ...more
Apr 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: jewish
Such a cute story! If I'd had this book when I was younger, I know I'd have been absolutely obsessed with it. ...more
Oct 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
All the overprotective “autism moms” NEED to read this book.
Hal Schrieve
A sweet middle-grade novel about an autistic eleven-year-old girl named Vivy.

This epistolary novel follows Vivy's letters to her role model, knuckleballer VJ Capello. Vivy has had a fixation on the knuckleball pitch since she met VJ on a trip with her social skills group to a baseball game three years ago; while she pitches with her brother Nate, she is only invited to be on a baseball team when the coach of a local boys' team sees her at the park throwing pitches. Vivy's parents would prefer sh
Phoenix (Books with Wings)
Huge, huge, HUGE thanks to CW and The Quiet Pond for letting me know this book exists!

I might have a soft spot for books about baseball.
And this one is a middle grade book about a girl playing baseball.
Needless to say, I loved it.
I literally read this book for all my waking moments until I finished it. I started it last night, and then I went to bed and as soon as I woke up I started reading it again. I loved Vivy, and I loved her conversations with VJ Capello!
Vivy was such an amazing character.

I don't really get baseball (or sports in general) but this was a fantastic epistolary novel about an autistic girl's dream of being a pitcher for a baseball team.
I don't know if it's actually possible, but my brother, Nate, says I throw a wicked knuckeball. He's on the varsity team as a catcher even though he's only a freshman in high school! That's really impressive, don't you think? So if Nate says my knuckleball is good, then it must be at least a little bit true.

The problem is, I'v
Aug 16, 2022 rated it really liked it
Aspiring pitcher Vivy Cohen navigates her mission to pitch the perfect knuckleball, deal with her overprotective mother, and life in general through correspondence with her favorite pitcher.

I loved the book, loved Vivy's dedication and grit and her relationship with her brother. My only hesitancy with this book comes down to two points. Vivy is autistic and in the course of the book is undergoing some therapy and "social skills" group work. In the course of this she mentions in passing that she
3.5 stars

This is an epistolary novel following an autistic girl who’s determined to be the first girl to make it to the major leagues and her correspondence with a major league baseball player.

Like any MG, I thought it was cute. I would 100% adopt Vivy and I loved seeing how much she grew over the course of the novel, especially in her relationship with her parents. I loved seeing her stand up for herself and I loved seeing her play baseball. I would give up my life for Vivy in a heartbeat.

I a
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Vivy Cohen absolutely loves baseball. When she is out throwing with her brother, the coach from a local baseball teams approaches her about playing. Vivy manages to convince her parents to play, but she has a lot of obstacles to face: the coaches son is a bully, she gets nervous before throwing, and her mother is over-protective due to Vivy's autism. But through e-mail exchanges with a baseball pro, Vivy learns to trust her friends and to stand up for herself.

A sports book with a female main cha
Apr 03, 2022 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this! #ownvoices autism rep. Relateable, realistic main character. Unique writing and form (this book is told in epistolary style!). Engaging plot.

The only thing I have to say negatively was in regards to Vivy seeming to think that it was bad to stim? She kept expecting to be punished for hand/finger flapping or rocking when she was excited/upset. And though we don’t see her punished for that, the way she talked about expecting it made it sound like that had happened before. And it was
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20 likes · 1 comments
“I’ve always assumed that when someone acts mean to me it’s because I did something wrong. Maybe that’s not it at all, though. Sort of like how sometimes you throw your best pitch and the batter still hits a home run. Because sometimes things just happen and you can’t control it. No matter how good and smart and talented you are.” 1 likes
“FROM: VJ CAPELLO DATE: APRIL 20 TO: VIVIAN JANE COHEN SUBJECT: THANK YOU Vivian Jane, I appreciate you defending me to Alex, although it’s hardly necessary. I only hope I can justify your faith in me with my performance on the field. Your emails have been a welcome distraction from the fact that I am now 0-3 on the season. I don’t think you understand your own gifts sometimes. I am also glad to hear you’re spending time with Alex outside of games and practice. His sister sounds like a real character, but possibly a friend for you as well. I wouldn’t get too bothered by her comments about you and Alex. Friends are most excellent. Now I really must go watch some videos before my next start. The team hasn’t been playing great lately, and I need to fix things. Hoping both of our knuckleballs knuckle, VJ FROM: VIVIAN JANE COHEN DATE: APRIL 22 TO: VJ CAPELLO SUBJECT: FINE-NESS VJ, Well, of course I am going to defend you to Alex!” 0 likes
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