STARRED REVIEW
June 07, 2016

Middle school worries

By Kathleen Lane
Review by

Maggie the worrywart is starting middle school—but her worries go beyond school. The news reports on a murderer in their neighborhood. The neighbor’s rabbits may soon be someone’s dinner. The neighborhood bully might get a gun for his birthday . . . well, there’s just not much that Maggie finds calm about her little world.

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Maggie the worrywart is starting middle school—but her worries go beyond school. The news reports on a murderer in their neighborhood. The neighbor’s rabbits may soon be someone’s dinner. The neighborhood bully might get a gun for his birthday . . . well, there’s just not much that Maggie finds calm about her little world.

With her omnipresent worries, stream-of-consciousness thinking and constant “deal making” to ensure her safety (for example, she must do everything in even numbers to ensure her preferred outcome), Maggie’s not unlike most tweens, really. But her OCD demeanor definitely impacts her two sisters and everyone around her. She worries when Dad doesn’t come home on time—“Please don’t let Dad’s plane crash, please don’t let Dad’s plane crash,” she repeats. And everyday occurrences take on weighted meaning in Maggie’s overwrought life. Several short chapters focus on Maggie’s mantras and behaviors as she checked that all the doors are locked and that no one is under the bed.

Life is hard when you’re 11, and everything around you is changing—not all for the better—and you realize that many things are not within your control. While this book may be relatable to others anxious about school, friends and the community at large, the repetitiveness of Maggie’s behaviors and stream-of-consciousness writing may be off-putting to some.

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The Best Worst Thing

The Best Worst Thing

By Kathleen Lane
Little, Brown
ISBN 9780316257817

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