~FREE ♴ If Only ♬ PDF or E-pub free

~FREE ☪ If Only ♁ A Stunning Debut About One Girl S Journey Through Loss And Grief Corinna S World Is Crushed After Her Mother Dies Of Cancer How Does She Get Through The Funeral, Trays Of Ziti, A Father Who Can T Communicate, The First Day Of School, Mother S Day, People Who Don T Know What To Say, And The Entire Eighth Grade Year Despite Her Alienation From Many Of Her Peers, Including Her Best Friend, She Succeeds In Finding Support She Dares To Bare Her Innermost Fears, Hurts, And Wishes, And Even Allows Herself To Have A Flowering Crush On A Boy In The School Band She Also Finds Out Deep Secrets About Her Mother Which She Never Knew It S A Year That Will Change Corinna S Life Forever If Only first caught my attention when an advertisement for the book popped up in my Goodreads sidebar After reading the book s description, I decided it should be added to my to read list and soon discovered it was being offered as a Goodreads giveaway And then it got better I actually won the book Ever since I lost my mother to cancer when I was 16, I have been drawn to people or, in this case, characters who have also experienced the death of a parent I believe the primary reason is that I desire to see if I am not alone in my grief or insecurities or neuroses For this reason, I was greatly anticipating reading If Only.I cried a lot while reading the book, mainly, I think, because the protagonist was believable and having gone through similar circumstances, I could sometimes feel my heart aching, Yes, yes, yes Sometimes it was quite comforting to see myself both my 16 year old self as well as my 35 year old self in Corinna s thoughts and responses to people and situations.In a number of ways, Corinna s experience was different from mine nevertheless, I think one of the over arching themes of the novel is that a lot of people whether old or young simply do not know how to deal with death well Sometimes people don t know how to be supportive, and even in their best efforts, many cause harm than healing.I personally appreciated a number of the issues addressed in the book 1 Whom can a young girl turn to speak to about girl things Whom can you talk to about having your period Who buys your pads or tampons Who goes bra shopping with you Clothes shopping Thankfully Corinna has the mom of one of her friends, but this causes me to wonder how many other women out there are sensitive enough to be that woman for a girl who has lost her mother.2 Whom do you tell about your mother s death Do you assume that others already know If you really care about someone, you feel like you re keeping something from him or her a vital part of you if you don t tell them How do you do that without feeling awkward or possibly causing the other person to feel strange 3 How do you refer to your mother s familial relationships My mom has two sisters No, she s dead My mom had two sisters No, they re both alive It s complicated.4 What happens if and when your other parent dies 5 How do you deal with anniversaries of a diagnosis, death Birthdays of the departed Holidays like Mothers Day when you re bombarded with advertisements everywhere For some reason even 18 years later all the Mothers Day ads really got to me this year One of the very positive points about the book is its main character learns from her painful experience to help others Corrina has felt labeled as The Girl Whose Mom Died, yet her sensitivity to how she has been treated gives her the courage to stand up for another girl who has been made fun of for her weight Her appreciation for having received thoughtful notes from friends encourages her to write a kind message to a boy who has been newly orphaned She also becomes creative Corinna doesn t obliterate the memories of her mother by blocking her out instead she sews a quilt made of scraps of her mother s clothing.All in all, I believe If Only is a beneficial read for people of all ages, regardless if the person has undergone personal loss or not Those belonging to the former group will find comfort in recognizing they re not alone, while those in the latter group might better understand how to care for a friend who is grieving In closing and as a side note, as a D.C resident, it was also fun to read a book set in Bethesda, MD, and to know that the book s author works literally a block away from where I live. Yet another early copy from the book exchange shelf at work I work in a Writing Center, so we re all kinds of reading and writing people, so someone must be on someone s list And since uncorrected proofs all say NOT FOR SALE on them, I totally reap the benefits.So, when I started this book, I d woken up at 2 30 am and not been able to fall back to sleep, so I was really tired by the time I got my hands on this book, around 12 30 pm I don t recommend reading this when you re susceptible to emotional manipulation Corinna was all sad about her mom being dead, and that made me all sad about her mom being dead, and I walked around like a zombie until I got to go to bed at 10 30 that night Seriously, it s probably not a good thing that I drove myself home that night.That said, I have nothing else particularly enthusiastic to say about this book It wasn t bad I didn t notice m any errors the topic was important and valid the characters were mostly relatable, though I haven t experienced family loss like our main character has But neither was it amazing I didn t read it and feel like I had no choice but to keep it I didn t stay up late to read I didn t finish it and want to start over To me, If Only is a perfectly acceptable, but largely unimpressive, book I will allow, though, that I am definitely not the demographic the author was writing for The information page says it s classified as a Middle Grade Novel for grades 5 9 or ages 10 14 I passed that all up ten years ago So perhaps a age appropriate reviewer will rave I, however, will not. I adored IF ONLY and didn t want it to end I loved Corinna and felt like she was me, and she voiced all sorts of things I thought as a girl and still think as an adult , some of them things one can t say out loud Carole Geithner is a gifted writer I recommend this book to one and all If Only is a book to treasure. Diane Rehm recently interviewed this author, along with a couple other people, in a show about the death of a parent in childhood young adulthood The program was wonderful, and so was this book Though I haven t been through such a tragedy, the story rang true The main character, Corinna age 13 , narrates her life for the first year or so after her mother s death I think the book would be helpful for any kids older elementary young adulthood trying to cope with a huge loss of any kind. If Only by Carole Geithner is a book about a girl Corinna who is having trouble getting over that her mom Sophie died of cancer Her mom had died over the summer and when it s time to go back to school Corinna has trouble fitting in again and finding someone who really understands Corinna s neighbors try to help by giving her and her dad advice or food Corinna gets upset because they all say that they understand but she feels that you can t really understand unless it has happened to you before When it comes to her best friend Joci she pretends to understand, but she and Corinna get in a fight and Joci says some really harsh things about her over reacting about her mom Will Corinna ever feel better about her mom and find some who understands I loved this book and couldn t put it down It is really heartwarming story and I would recommend it to anyone who has had someone close to them die of cancer or anyone who has known someone with cancer I would also recommend this book to some of my friends and kids fourth grade and up. Two stars seems a stingy rating, but Goodreads guide for two is It was okay And that s how I feel about this book It ll do It suffices It s okay.I think it would be a good book to read if you were a tween who d lost a parent Or maybe even a tween whose friend had lost a parent The book s strength is writing about how it feels to carry on in the wake of a huge loss.Unfortunately, there s just nothing interesting happening here It s standard middle school fare catty girls, sleepovers, crushes on boys All functionally rendered, if with predictable tropes, especially at school We see teachers who read notes out loud or tell a student there s no such thing as a stupid question Thankfully Geithner didn t go in for melodrama I worried there d be an awkward adult romance between Corinna s dad and their mother s musician friend Deborah Or that the diary Corinna finds would have some additional, darker secret like that Corinna was adopted, or that her mother didn t die of cancer, but of some hidden addiction But everything was face value.Geithner maybe did too good a job of telling an ordinary girl s story It was so ordinary, it failed to compel. I am a middle class white female Both of my parents and all of my siblings are still alive, and my parents are still married to one another Sometimes this makes me feel like it s hard to relate to people who live or grew up in different situations, but that was before I read If Only I don t think that any two stories of grief are the same, but Corinna s story shows us one of these stories, and for me, it gave me an inside look at what grief might feel like for a thirteen year old girl First, there s her grieving dad who can t quite seem to remember that Corinna is going to need to get her hair cut and go to the dentist and do all of the things that her mom used to take care of Next, there s the problem of her friends and the people at school nobody knows what to say or do or how to acknowledge the fact that Corinna s mom has died, not even her best friend And then there are the constant reminders seeing her mom s favorite cereal at the store, the lunch she now has to make herself, and even Mother s Day advertisements on the radio This is Carole Geithner s first novel, but she draws on her experience from years of working as a counselor for both children and adults to take her readers on Corinna s journey Her ability to write in a middle school voice while still getting at the heart of bigger issues is evident throughout the book as we journey with Corinna for the year following her mother s death Separated into short snippets of chapters categorized under appropriate seasons, Geithner s writing made me think about what it would be like to lose a parent, the importance of the emotional support teachers can provide, and how often teens really just need adults to be patient The writing itself is just the right mix of poetic and realistic The book begins If seasons were tubes of paint, last fall would have been deep, dark black Winter was also dark, but like a foggy gray with lots of huge black blobs mixed in Spring had some blue, but blue comes in lots of shades, from almost blackish blue to bright sky blue And then there was summer Summer had colors than the other seasons, with hints of purples, but like one of my many soccer bruises, it could look pretty hideous with its swirling blend of black, blues, and tinges of sickly yellow Grief is hard Really hard And you can t put the cap back on when you want to, like you can with a tube of paint Geithner, 1 Isn t that great She nails descriptions like these descriptions capturing grief, middle school drama, and everything else Corinna is going through from the point of view of an eighth grader who writes and has this sort of vision Even though this is a story of grief, it is also a story of hope and memory preservation, of family and of teenage hormones, silly dogs, and growing up The jacket describes If Only as part heartbreaking, part funny, and boundlessly hopeful I would agree There are a few things that this book is not It s not a romance novel although there is a crush involved , it s not a fantasy adventure, and it s not a dystopian novel What it is is a realistic look at a teenager navigating her way through middle school including fragile friendships while also figuring out how to grieve her mom and find a way to live with that hole in her life It s something I would recommend to anyone who hasn t lost someone close to them and anyone who has Because this book gives everyone Corinna as someone to relate to for that situation, no matter which side of it readers fall, and she tells it like it is. If Only is a book I saw on the goodreads give away list and signed up for kind of expecting to blast It s young adult fiction about grief and for some reason I expected it to be platitudes and a lot of fake it till you make it sort of advice disguised as fiction I am happy to announce that I was wrong This is not a moral tale at all In fact I will probably buy multiple copies of it It goes on my very short list of quite helpful resources for dealing with grief, death and the pain of negotiating life after death Not after death as in eternity but after experiencing the death of someone close Corinna is a normal middle schooler with all of the anxieties, stressors, confusions and drama except that she isn t any The whole highlight of my summer thing was brutal for her, because over the summer she lost her mother The story takes the reader through Corinna s school year in 8th grade It is helpful to see through the eyes of a young teen during grief As Corinna struggles to do life and relate to her friends grief hits her in waves I would hand this book to a lot of different people I would give it to adults who have a child in their life going through grief I would give it to middle and high school students who have a friend going through grief It is a snapshot into what is and isn t helpful Although that differs for each person, I think this book could help teach a young teen especially how to be loving and caring toward a peer dealing with loss It could be powerfully encouraging for a teen dealing with loss if it was presented gently and timed well.One of the powerful strengths of Geithner s story is normalizing teenage responses to death Corinna eventually interacts with peers who have lost someone A factor that eases some of her isolation is hearing them say that they have similar fears, emotions and confusion Instead of thinking that she is crazy she can then understand that her circumstances are the difference between her and most of her peers instead of it just being her I cannot recommend this book enough I want to tell all the pastors, counselors, therapists, teachers and parents I know about it Geithner did a spectacular job of dealing with a painful and hard issue without making it an extremely heavy book to read If you have teenagers in your life, read this book I have never read anything that expresses so well the unique way tragedy and death hit at that crucial age I am thankful to goodreads for giving me the opportunity to review this book I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.Initial response I just finished it I just have to saw Wow I ll write when I ve had a little time to gather my thoughts. If Only is an extremely moving, beautiful read about 13 year old Corinna s first year after losing her mom to cancer Corinna as a character grabs you from the beginning as her voice and situation are both realistic and heart wrenching As well as coping with her own grief, she has to help her dad adjust and start eighth grade without her mom around.Corinna faces the practical adjustment to situations like needing to shop for clothes and having no mom to notice, missing dentist appointments, running out of food at home because dad forgot to go grocery shopping She also faces the emotional adjustment of talking or not to her friends about the loss of her mom, wanting to move on but not wanting to forget, worrying that her dad may also die and leave her an orphan, etc.Because her friends find it so difficult to understand what she is going through, Corinna joins a support group at her school put together by the guidance counselor The other kids involved also lost a parent most to disease, but one to suicide Their ability to talk with each other about what they miss most, what they wish they had said to their parent, what other kids don t understand helps Corinna to deal with how she feels without getting stuck in anger or resentment She begins to create a memory quilt, stitching together pieces of her mom s clothing in order to keep part of her mom with her.While working on the memory quilt, Corinna discovers her mom s diary which reveals that her mom was conceived with the help of a sperm donor While this information is reduced to one scene towards the end that is relatively unnecessary to the plot, this situation may give many parents pause in unconditionally recommending this book to children Other situations that parents should know in order to recommend to the appropriate age are a few references to periods and bra shopping as Corinna must face this part of growing up without a female figure in her life.In a very realistic tone, If Only provides real insights into the devastation and sadness caused by the loss of a parent Tracing the emotional arch of Corinna s grief and adjustment, If Only shows how a young girl comes to terms with missing the most important person in her life.Reviewed for www.goodreadingguide.com