Fox Point’s Own Gemma Hopper

Knopf. Apr. 2023. 272p. Tr $21.99. ISBN 9780593428498; pap. $13.99. ISBN 9780593428481.
Gr 6 Up–Gemma Hopper feels invisible, even though she’s the tallest girl in her grade, because her dad and town only seem to care about her baseball star brother, while her mom is taking time “to find herself.” Meanwhile, she’s left taking care of her younger twin brothers, doing all the dishes and laundry, and barely has any time to herself. On top of all that, she must play pitcher for her brother’s batting practice. When she’s given an assignment to write about her family tree, she doesn’t know what to do because her maternal grandparents are no more present than her mom. Her best friend has started hanging out with a popular girl who’s pressuring her for an introduction to Gemma’s brother. Under all this pressure, it’s no wonder that Gemma cracks. She makes up her family history, because there’s no one to help her with it. Setting the popular girl up with her brother goes horribly wrong and leads to a fight with her best friend, and she accidentally embarrasses her brother in front of a crowd when she pitches what she wants instead of easy hits. It’s only after getting out of her brother’s shadow that she realizes she might have some baseball aspirations of her own. Gemma is down, but never out. Spangler crafts a story any middle schooler will understand, weaving together the troubles of Gemma’s daily life into an intriguing graphic novel that kids will want to read. The distinct art style conveys Gemma’s tendency to curl in on herself, and the palette changes to show when she’s giving herself a hard time on the mound.
VERDICT A good purchase for libraries.

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