Isaac Fitch’s family aren’t big Buckeyes fans. Their house doesn’t have an Ohio State flag waving above the front door, and Isaac doesn’t bleed scarlet and gray like the other 6th graders in his small Ohio town. But rooting for the wrong team is not his only problem.
His mom is far away, working in China, his best friend has stopped talking to him and he has idiopathic angioedema, a condition that can make his hands swell like sausages and can cover his entire body in red welts at a moment’s notice. Kids at school are less than understanding and give him the nickname “Itch.”
Despite all this, Isaac goes to great lengths to be accepted. His extreme attempts to make and keep friends underscores the very human need to be part of something bigger than ourselves. But the reckoning Isaac faces in Itch goes beyond the need to be accepted. He must face who he really is and who he wants to be—a tall order for any 12-year-old.
Author Polly Farquhar, who has also been diagnosed with idiopathic angioedema, perfectly depicts Isaac’s experiences. She also artfully conveys the familiar milieu of the 6th grade social order and the difficulties Isaac has in navigating it. The desire to fit in is a theme that will resonate with readers of any age. Isaac’s endearing personality, coupled with Farquar’s strong pacing and distinctive spin on a familiar narrative, will leave readers eager for more books from this debut author.