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Braced: 06/04/18


Braced by Alyson Gerber is a book about a teenage soccer player who like her mother has scoliosis. Just as Rachel is getting exciting for being the forward on her soccer team, she's hit with her doctor's orders to be fit with a back brace because her spine's curvature has gotten worse.

I think this is the first book I've read with a family who has scoliosis. I point this out, a year after taking my son in to have his spine examined. Sure enough, just like others in our family, he has it. Our family's scoliosis doesn't get bad enough to need bracing, but it was still something we talked about during the appointment.

Like Rachel, the diagnosis came just before my son started cross country. In the end, cross country didn't wasn't his thing, so it's not something we'll have to balance with his regular scoliosis check ups. But it could have been if he didn't have other interests that he wanted to spend his time on instead.

Like most problem books, this one follows a pretty standard narrative progression. The big exciting thing happens just before the big frustrating problem thing. So then comes the hating of the thing to fix the problem and being frustrated at not being able to do the exciting thing without the thing to fix the problem. Then comes the big event (game, contest, show, etc.) and with it comes some life altering mindset, where the protagonist comes to terms with the problem and the thing to fix (or not) the problem. So that in the end it doesn't matter if the BIG EVENT was upset because of the problem and everyone learns a lesson.

Bracedd has it's place to explain what it's like to live with scoliosis and be an active, athletic teenager. But it could have done more. Rachel's so focused on soccer that she really doesn't have a personality beyond her love of the game and her dislike of the brace.

Three stars

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