Just Like Jackie
She’s sure that she’s making things worse by getting in trouble at school, but she can’t resist using her fists when bullies like Alex Carter make fun of her for not having a mom.
Now she’s stuck in group guidance—and to make things even worse, Alex Carter is there too. There’s no way Robbie’s going to open up about her life to some therapy group, especially not with Alex in the room. Besides, if she told anyone how forgetful Grandpa’s been getting lately, they’d take her away from him. He’s the only family she has—and it’s up to her to keep them together, no matter what.
Multigenerational Problem Novel
Robinson lives with her grandfather Charlie in a small town in Vermont. It's always been just the two of them. One boy at school, Alex, gives her a hard time, never calling her the name that she wants to be called (never Robin, sometimes Robbie) and making fun of the fact that she looks very little like her African-American grandfather. After she hits Alex yet again, she gets sent to group counseling, which Alex attends as well. Many of the children in the group are not happy about the latest school assignment, a family tree, because they don't have a lot of information about their families, or are dealing with serious family issues such as divorce or illness. Robbie is dealing with Charlie's worsening dementia. He runs the local car repair business, and luckily has a good assistant, Harold, to watch out for him. Harold, however, is very busy with the new baby daughter than he and his partner Paul have adopted, so Robbie tries to cover her grandfather's condition up as best she can. When she can no longer do this, she finally gets the help she needs.
While this is a sad book, it is at least a hopeful one which is filled with supportive characters. Readers who love the bittersweetness of Tyre's Hope in the Holler, McAnulty's The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl or Springstubb's Every Single Second will appreciate the sense of community in the small Vermont town and the cast of quirky but endearing characters.