For one thing, a tornado tears the roof off the school cafeteria. His mother leaves on a two month business trip to China. And as always. . . . there's the itch. It comes out of nowhere. Idiopathic, which means no one knows what causes it. It starts small, but it spreads, and soon--it's everywhere. It's everything. It's why everyone calls him Itch--everyone except his best friend Sydney, the only one in all of Ohio who's always on his side, ever since he moved here.
He's doing the best he can to get along--until everything goes wrong in the middle of a lunch swap. When Sydney collapses and an ambulance is called, Itch blames himself. And he's not the only one. When you have no friends at all, wouldn't you do anything--even something you know you shouldn't--to get them back?
Drawing on her own experiences with idiopathic angioedema and food allergies, Polly Farquhar spins a tale of kids trying to balance the desire to be ordinary with the need to be authentic--allergies, itches, confusion and all.
For everyone who's ever felt out of place, this debut novel set in the Ohio heartland is a warm, funny, and sometimes heartbreaking look at middle school misfits and misadventures. Whether you root for the Buckeyes or have no clue who they are, you'll be drawn into Itch's world immediately. This engaging debut is perfect for fans of See You in the Cosmos and Fish in a Tree.
We're starting to see a lot more books that deal with a variety of medical conditions. It helps students build empathy when they can get an intimate look inside the struggle of someone their own age. Readers who liked Alyson Gerber's Braced and Focused, Harrel's Wink, and Flake's The Skin I'm In will find Isaac's experiences dealing with his persistent itch to be a good window into how their own life would be different if faced with similar circumstances. His guilt over Sydney's allergic reaction will be appreciated by readers of books like Graff's Lost in the Sun or Northrop's Plunked, where children have to deal with the consequences of their actions.
Isaac has a lot of other issues to deal with; moving, keeping a job, and dealing with his home situation, so this adds some more layers of interest to his story.