“Crenshaw” by: Katherine Applegate

This was a sweet and moving story *at times*.

This very logic based little boy, Jackson, is trying to learn how to deal with his emotions over situations (homelessness/loss/financial instability) that keep happening to him and his family. There are some tough topics here to explore.

Jackson and his family are having financial problems. His Dad has MS and his Mom is struggling as a part time waitress to help feed the family. Jackson keeps telling his little sister everything will be okay. They may have to live in their minivan again.

Jackson sees his imaginary friend Crenshaw again after years without seeing him. Last time he saw him was when his family was living in the minivan. Crenshaw and the family dog get along surprisingly well. This confuses Jackson because he realizes the dog can also see the imaginary cat.

A nice way to merge together the reasons why children need their imaginary friends, the frustration of wanting to control more of your world, and the struggle to be a stronger older sibling during a hardship with a few lessons on honestly/doing what’s right mixed in; there were still a few things left to be desired on this one.

It wasn’t quite as moving and in depth as it could have been. I kept feeling like maybe the author was somehow holding back.

Middle school children will probably learn from this but adults may see the psychological additions in here too.

I have said it before and I’ll write it again, I have always liked stories that feature metaphor and never neatly wrap up the endings. Life is never predictable.

Overall Crenshaw was a, blunt honestly, easily forgettable book. It just lacked that special something that books like “A Monster Calls” by Patrick Ness pulled together so well. I can’t put my finger on what was lacking in this. It wasn’t really its fault, it just seemed to meander about at times. I had to slog through some parts of it and that will never earn a stunning review from me.

Crenshaw wasn’t a bad read, but it wasn’t great either.

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