Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen by Sarah Kapit - ADVISABLE

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 to join a local baseball team and pitch for them. Vivy's mom is hesitant, not only would Vivy be the only girl on the team, but she is also on the autism spectrum - and mom worries that it's dangerous and maybe too much for Vivy. With her dad's permission, Vivy corresponds with VJ who offers her some pretty good advice, but when she is hit by a ball during a game giving her a concussion, Vivy is faced with the possibility of mom never letter her play again.

There is a lot to like about this book. Kapit has written an exciting baseball book featuring a girl pitcher, and her portrayal of a child on the spectrum feels authentic. However, I hate to see a bully go unchecked - there's a pretty mean kid on her team, and Vivy tries to manage his bullying herself. The idea of her parents letting her email an adult unsupervised was a bit disconcerting (at one point it is evident that dad is not monitoring it at all). All in all, I think the story is engaging, and if the reader can keep track of whose email is whose, it will be a good addition to an elementary or middle school library.

Lisa Librarian

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