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Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen!

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  276 ratings  ·  91 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, 356 pages
Published February 25th 2020 by Dial Books
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Average rating 4.19  · 
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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
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.
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
Richie Partington
Jan 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
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
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
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
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
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: disabled-rep, fiction
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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!
Claire Lovegood
I really liked this book. I liked that the girl wanted to play baseball instead of softball which I can relate to and I don’t really see a lot of books about girls playing baseball. And it was cool that she was autistic as well. I liked the idea of this book and felt that it was done really well and the characters seemed pretty realistic.
Hoover Public Library Kids and Teens
Eleven-year-old Vivian Jane Cohen has autism but she also throws a mean knuckleball and yearns to play baseball. Written in letters and emails between Vivy and her MLB-playing, knuckleball-throwing idol who shares her initials -- VJ Capello.
May 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'm a sucker for epistolary novels. Add a charming, delightful neurodiverse protagonist and a love of baseball, and I am in. Vivy is a gem in this middle grade novel. ...more
Oct 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
All the overprotective “autism moms” NEED to read this book.
Jan 01, 2021 added it
I have decided not to rate books this year—but I loved this!
Jan 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
A great own voice MG novel that I can’t wait to get into the hands of readers!
Rajani LaRocca
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky to read an Advance Reader Copy of this book. GET A GRIP, VIVY COHEN is about a young autistic girl who can throw a mean knuckleball...and all she wants it to be able to play baseball. She writes to a Major League knuckleball pitcher, and to her surprise, he writes her back. This book is perfect MG combination of funny and heartfelt, and it made me tear up for the best reasons. I LOVE this book, and so will so many kids!
Alex (Pucksandpaperbacks)
CW: Ableism, bullying, concussion
Oct 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-for-kids
Vivy Cohen is a kid with high-functioning autism, a love for baseball (particularly the knuckleball), and an over-protective, hasn't-come-to-grips-with-autism-not-being-awful mother. Also her therapist kinda sucks. (Can you tell I have multiple relatives with autism and strong opinions about how autism not needing to be cured?) When she sends fan mail to her favorite pitcher, they develop a (totally kosher, and presented with great sensitivity for being appropriate) friendship which helps them b ...more
Apr 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
There's a lot of media genres that I don't really find myself gravitating to. Horror, romance, mecha, etc., and sports is no exception. I never liked watching real sports, and still don't, so reading a book on sports or watching TV shows centered around sports is usually guaranteed to bore the hell out of me. Mostly because many of them expect their audience to already know about the sport in question, never explaining any terminology, therefore alienating any fans who aren't as familiar with va ...more
Ms. Yingling
Dec 01, 2019 rated it liked it
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Vivy really wants to play baseball like V.J. Capello, whom she once met and who taught her how to throw a knuckleball. Her mother, however, is apprehensive. She doesn't think that baseball is safe for girls, and is concerned about how Vivy will do on the field, since she is on the Autism spectrum and occasionally struggles with talking to others and dealing with unaccustomed stimuli. Her social skills teacher has her write letters in order to help her learn to com
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen by Sarah Kapit 326 pages. Dial Books for Young Readers (Penguin, Random House), 2020. $18.

Language: G (0 swears 0 'f'); Mature Content: G; Violence: G.



11yo Vivy Cohen learned to throw a knuckleball 3 years ago from VJ Capello. When Vivy is given an assignment in her social skills class to write a letter to someone, she chooses VJ Capello, and he writes back! Now VJ is in the major leagues and Vivy has been invited
Julie Christensen
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I let my kids read this book before I got to it, and they loved it. They are 12 and 10, girl and boy. I'm posting their reviews here:

The 12-year old girl:
"I think that, first of all, the book was absolutely fantastic!! It was a very good and unique idea to write through the eyes of someone with autism. It was nice to have a different perspective. When I read the book, parts of it were sad, and since the book was so realistic, I was sad, too. The same sort of thing happened when parts of the boo
Rachel 007
Oct 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: beta-read, pitch-wars
I beta read this during Pitch Wars 2017 and loved it. Middle school me would’ve appreciated seeing a girl with the same issues as me on page & #ownvoices! and would’ve loved the letter writing that Vivy does. (The whole book is written like that!) I can’t wait to read the final version
Karen Gibson
NOTE: Sensitive material in this book.
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“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
“practically have all the prayers memorized by now thanks to all the boring-ness.” 0 likes
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