Worst-Case Collin. Rebecca Caprara. 2021. [September] 256 pages. [Source: Review copy]
First sentence: I used to dream about normal stuff like making the swim team, acing my social studies quiz, getting revenge on Liam for pranking me all the time. These days my main goal is to prevent disaster from striking again. Or, at the very least, to be better prepared. Which is harder than it sounds when you're in middle school and calamities of various sorts occur daily.
Premise/plot: Collin, our twelve-year-old protagonist, is a worrier carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. It wasn't always like this. There was a Before. But he's been living in the After for almost two years now. Life without his mom is barely life. Collin has some great friends--Liam and Georgia--who are clueless about the secrets he's been keeping from them. There's a good reason he hasn't invited them inside his house--ever, ever, ever. But keeping secrets and hiding out can only take you so far...
Worst-Case Collin is a coming of age novel--with a school setting, with a strong theme of friendship--written in verse. It's also what you might call a problem novel. (That is one reason why I am reviewing it here at Becky's Book Reviews instead of Young Readers.)
My thoughts: I have many thoughts. On the one hand, WHAT A STORY. I loved meeting Collin and his friends, Liam and Georgia. I thought his two friends continually offered a ray of hope and happiness. Collin and the reader needed that hope. (I also thought Liam's mom was superb!!! It was so nice to see a good parenting role model.) On the other hand, IT IS HEAVY AND INTENSE. I think it is good heavy and good intense. But also potentially triggering--depending on the reader's home environment.
Collin is juggling many, many, many emotions: sadness, worry, fear, frustration, anger, regret, bitterness, anxiety, hopelessness, grief, and SHAME. Collin only has a tiny amount of places where he feels safe. On the one hand, he wants to tell someone--anyone--what is going on at home and how things are different since his mom died. On the other hand, he fears what might happen if anyone ever learns the truth. He struggles daily with this dilemma. Can I go on living like this? Will it ever get better?
Gravity might always win,
but I've got a choice:
I choose to dive.
She bends her knees.
Preferably with style!
She leaps, twists, splashes.
there is space inside
the human heart
for infinite love
and infinite sadness
and all the messiness
© 2021 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews