Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Cursed by Karol Ruth Silverstein - HIGH

Cursed by Karol Ruth Silverstein 315 pages Charlesbridge, 2019. $18.

Language: R (100+ swears, 43 ‘f’); Mature Content: PG; Violence: PG



9th grader Ricky is in Middle School - again. She’s been diagnosed with arthritis, and when she goes to live with her dad instead of her mom, as his apartment has no stairs, she has to enroll in the neighborhood school by her dad’s apartment, where 9th grade isn't in high school anymore.  Ricky suffers from chronic pain, and she’s always on edge and very angry. After an incident with some bullies at school, Ricky cuts school for a good six weeks, and is now in danger failing ninth grade. Most of her teachers will allow her to do make up work but one teacher Mr. Jenkins requires a couple of after school sessions a week for his public speaking class and through this, Ricky learns about herself.  While Ricky‘s biggest problem seems to be her arthritis, she’s also managing the new life of her parents divorce and the fact that her sister has gone away to college, and maybe the boy she likes likes her back! 

There aren’t a lot of YA books about kids with chronic pain. Silverstein gives us characters that are real without making the reader feel sorry for them. A well written story with great characters - I really loved Ricky, I loved how as she learned to manage her pain, her anger got more manageable as well. Kids will relate to the family drama, the school politics (mean girls, bullies, friend dynamics).  The doctor and hospital visits were well detailed - I could feel her pain and stress.  Silverstein received a 2020 Schneider award for this title. I heartily agree.

Lisa Librarian

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