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Sticks & stones
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Ever since she was a baby, the words people use to describe Elyse have instantly appeared on her arms and legs. At first it was just "cute" and "adorable," but as she's gotten older and kids have gotten meaner, words like "loser" and "pathetic" appear, and those words bubble up and itch. And then there are words like "interesting," which she's not really sure how to feel about. Now, at age twelve, she's starting middle school, and just when her friends who used to accept and protect her are drifting away, she receives an anonymous note saying "I know who you are, and I know what you're dealing with. I want to help." As Elyse works to solve the mystery of who is sending her these notes, she also finds new ways to accept who she is and to become her best self.
Trade Reviews

  School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-6-What if everything others said about you became visible on your body? This is the reality for new sixth grader Elyse. Elyse struggles with issues common to most middle schoolers: navigating the popular crowd, unrequited crushes, and changing friendships. But she also has to deal with cognadjivisibilitis, or CAV: a disease that causes words to appear all over her body whenever they're spoken aloud. It's not so bad when people say nice things about her, but the mean ones are big and itchy and compete for space. As if that's not embarrassing enough, Elyse has just discovered that anything she thinks about herself (positive or negative) shows up, too. Now somebody at her school is sending her secret notes, claiming to want to help her with her predicament. Elyse sets out to learn the identity of the mysterious letter writer, all the while working through her own issues of identity and self-acceptance. Cooper does an excellent job using the imagined CAV to explore self-esteem issues, which are so prevalent at this precarious time in life. Middle grade readers will enjoy Elyse's wry observations about school and family life, and most will relate to the agony of dealing with being different, especially during those awkward -preteen and teenage years. Fans of Wonder by R.J. Palacio will enjoy this book for its similar writing style, compelling characters, and upbeat tone. VERDICT A quirky, clever, and lighthearted look at what it means to accept oneself. Highly recommended for most middle grade collections.-Tabitha Nordby, Red River College, Manitoba, Canada © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Booklist Review

Sixth grader Elyse suffers from a bizarre (and fictional) disease: cognadjivisibilitis, or the visual appearance of words on one's skin when someone levels a compliment or insult. In addition to all of the expected perils of middle school, such as dealing with mean girls, coping with a failed romance, and relating to parents, Elyse must live with itchy skin rashes that spell out the adjectives that others use to describe her. When she receives a mysterious offer to help with her condition, she discovers just how powerful words can be, especially those that are hurtful. Throughout her daily dermatological irritation, Elyse manages to maintain an insightful humor. Cooper's debut novel is sweet and sincere, offering up a fantastically far-fetched metaphor that reminds readers why they must be kind to themselves and to others. Without being heavy-handed or sad, the book encourages resilience and addresses the pervasive self-esteem issues that plague so many young people today.--Anderson, Erin Copyright 2016 Booklist
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