You Go First
By Erin Entrada Kelly
This book is sure to become a classroom staple. The portrayal of middle school daily life is spot on and the characters are well crafted.
The chapters alternate between 12-year-old Charlotte and her online Scrabble opponent 11-year-old Ben. Both are navigating social isolation at school and family difficulties.
The emotions Charlotte experiences after her Dad has a heart attack and requires emergency surgery and the emotions Ben experiences after his parents announce their divorce are explored realistically and honestly.
In addition to the fully fleshed out main characters and secondary characters, other points of interest throughout the story include the ongoing scrabble words played and the many random facts the main characters reflect on and share from the anatomy of a starfish to statistics about commuting to work.
This is a quiet book full of heart that will appeal to a broad range of middle school readers. Enjoy!