Written by Booki Vivat
Published by Harper

When we first received Frazzled from the publisher we started to read through it as a bedtime book, but for one reason or another it got pushed aside in favour of something else. Not that we disliked it, or there was anything wrong with it, but it just didn’t catch fire right off.

The mother of a friend of our daughter asked us if we had any books they could try with their exceptionally reluctant reader. They were close to giving up on their daughter ever becoming much of a reader, but knew our family were “book people” and thought we might have a Hail Mary to throw. We put together a bag of books that our kid loves, as well as a few others, just because. One of the “others” was Frazzled.

A week later I got an e-mail from the mom, saying their daughter had torn through Frazzled, and was just about to finish it for the second time. She was talking about the book at meals, and bits had become sort of catch phrases for her.

When we got the book back we gave it another shot, and what kept us from finishing it the first time is beyond me. Frazzled is an exceptional and real depiction of growing up feeling like you’re the odd duck in a perfect family.

Abbie’s siblings are too cute (her younger sister) or too exemplary (her older brother) to compete with; being the middle sibling has no benefits in the Wu house. In fact, Abbie has come to the conclusion that “middles” are less than ideal across the board, so the thought of entering middle school is something less than welcome for her.

Author Booki Vivat presents a character in Abbie that is a welcome shift from the standard too-witty-by-half, too precocious middle grade hero, opting instead for a more true-to-life depiction of a pre-teen with a heart of gold, who is nonetheless suffering the effects of anxiety and self doubt. Arguably, Abbie is the single most important character in modern middle grade fiction.

Frazzled is chock full of wonderful illustrations, which add a great deal of visual interest to an already excellent narrative. It’s not hard to see how it might be an ideal work for reluctant readers, many of whom may feel anxious themselves about reading, and who might be comforted by this story of someone who feels like they do.

Not only incredibly important, but brilliant.

Kinderlit requested and received a copy of Frazzled in exchange for an honest review. Read about Review Policy HERE.

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