Cover Image: If You Read This

If You Read This

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Brb, sobbing.

This was a really touching, beautiful middle grade story about grief and healing and family and friendship. Brie's mom passed away from cancer. On her 12th birthday, she's given a treasure hunt, left for her by her mum, that sends her on an adventure. Brie is accompanied by several friends and family members, but she's also been feeling distant from her father since her mum died, and through the story we learn that he is also struggling with not only the grief from losing his wife, but balancing his work and supporting Brie financially and how to talk about his feelings with her. It is an absolutely emotionally devastating but ultimately hopeful and loving book.

CW: death of a parent, cancer
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Brie’s mother died three years ago. Now she feels ignored and like a burden to her busy father and Nana. 

On Brie’s 12th birthday she receives a gift of letter from her late mom that’s sets her on an adventure and encourages a reconnection between Brie and her dad. 

However Brie’s Papa seems too busy to go on the adventure with her and sends other family instead. How will they find a way to speak so they each understand?

A hopeful story of family, a desire to understand and the importance of sharing your journey with those you love.
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Brie recently turned 12, and her Papa (dad) missed her birthday again.  For three years (since her mother died), Brie has not been able to make her dad smile, he works all the time, and when he asks questions (the same ones over and over), he doesn't listen to her answers.  So A + B = Papa doesn't care anymore.  If he could, he would probably trade her for her Mom.  She's a very sad unhappy girl.

One gift she received was special (from her Mom), a box containing 3 letters.  After she reads the first letter, everything starts to change.  And one more important event; she gets to visit Brim's Island (where her grandpa lived).

The letters promise adventure...and with the valiant support of her aunt, Brie finds the priceless treasure behind a secret door.

A tender story of a girl who feels forgotten and overlooked by her always-working undemonstrative father, years after the death of her mother--who lived every day loud and large.  Also a story about healing a small fractured family.  I recommend this for ages 8 through adult.

4/5  Stars  Needs to show more of her dad's withdrawal--not just being a workaholic.  We are told he doesn't listen, but we don't experience it.  That's vital if it's true.

Thanks to Delacorte Press and NetGalley for the free preview of this ebook; the review is voluntary.

#IfYouReadThis #NetGalley
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Brie is sent on a magical adventure for her 12th birthday.  After her mother passed, her father saved letters from her that give her clues to find her mother's magical place.  Along the way, Brie makes realizations about her family.
Opinion
This short book packs a powerful punch.  It brought me to tears both at the beginning and the end.  It is perfect for upper elementary and lower middle schoolers looking for an adventure of their own.  It helps to show that family dynamics are not necessarily what they seem through the eyes of a child.
Many thanks to Net Galley and to Random House Children's Publishing for providing me with an ARC of this book.
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I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own. 
While I haven’t read Kereen Getten before, I’ve heard positive things. And this book is incredibly heartwarming, with a young girl following a letter-based treasure hunt her mom planned for her twelfth birthday just before she died. I love how it explores the memory of Brie’s connection with her mom, and how her mom planned ahead to keep it alive even after she was gone. Brie’s connection with her mom and how she’s been grappling with the loose is poignant to read, as is the journey she goes on as she takes her first steps into adolescence, guided by the one she loves so much and misses dearly. It’s the perfect book for any kid who has lost a parent and is grappling with that as they get older.
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In this touching and sweet story, Brie gets a surprise on her 12th birthday - a series of letters from her mom who had passed away 3 years ago that lead her on a special treasure hunt around the island of Jamaica. Brie's struggle to connect with her dad and other family comes out in this story along with the power of friendship and family to navigate hard times. I loved the glimpse into island life from the perspective of locals.
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A Caribbean girl feels disconnected from her father after her mother's death, until a birthday letter her mom left behind sends her on a scavenger hunt with those closest to her.

Once again, Getten has delivered a deeply moving, community-driven story with a genuine, authentic middle grade voice. The scavenger hunt keeps readers turning pages while Brie's love for her family and longing for a relationship with her dad forges deep emotional connections. This is a must-read for middle grade fans of contemporary fiction!
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Great fast Middle School books that touches on growing older as a tween, friendships, losing your mom and a love/hate relationship with your father.  This coming of age story takes place on an island in the tropics, so it widens the horizons a bit fir the reader on culture, while still showing we are more alike than different.
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3.5 stars 

In this bittersweet middle grade contemporary novel, Getten explores grief and reconnection in a touching and memorable way. 

Brie, the m.c., is having a birthday when readers meet her, and her mother sends her a special gift: a letter. This letter is meaningful not only because it sparks a small adventure but because Brie's mother passed away and planned ahead. This setup alone makes for an intriguing start. 

It's apparent early that while Brie is struggling with her mother's death, she seems to be struggling with her relationship with her father even more. Though he is still sort of around, he works so much that Brie feels consistently unimportant and not good enough. This aspect of the novel is somehow even more heartbreaking than the loss that Brie has already experienced, and it is the evolution of this connection - between Brie and her dad - that I found most gripping throughout. 

While I enjoyed the setup with the letters and adventure and found the relationship between Brie and her friends quite sweet, I was missing some of the development and growth that I hoped for overall in the short adventure and in the father/daughter relationship. I'd have loved to see a more in-depth and explicit discussion about what has happened and what will happen in the future. Without this, the end felt a little too anticlimactic in light of the possibilities. 

I really enjoyed Getten's debut, and I find a lot of merit in this second effort. I'll definitely be recommending it to students, especially those who are interested in seeing a unique portrait of grief in a middle grade novel.
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This was a nice story about a Jamaican girl who's mother died when she was nine.  Since then, she and her dad have struggled to connect -he's busy at work and she's busy trying to be a good daughter.  On her 12th birthday, she receives a letter from her mother, written before her death, inviting her on adventure, with her dad.  The story moves quickly and it has a happy ending.  I really liked the Caribbean cultural aspects that are a big part of the story but I suspect that's also going to limit it's appeal because although I lived for two years in the Virgin Islands and I could hear the voices of the people speaking patois and I was willing to do some research to find out what some of the Jamaican specific foods that they mentioned were, I'm not sure kids will be willing to do the same.
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Middle-grade books are often some of the best at tackling complex emotional topics, and If You Read This by Kereen Getten is no exception. This surprisingly deep middle-grade story follows 12-year-old Brie who lives with her family on the outskirts of a tourist resort in Jamaica. Her father, who manages the resort, has been distant with Brie ever since the death of her overly free-spirited mother three years before, leaving Brie largely in the care of her grandmother and resentful of the resort that steals away all her father’s time.

On her 12th birthday, Brie receives a gift left for her by her mother before her death: a box filled with a number of letters that will send her on one final treasure hunt, something she and her mother would do often before she fell ill. Initially hopeful that her father will accompany her on the hunt that involves going to a special place the family once frequented, Brie fears her hopes will be dashed once again. But with support from her closest friends and her remaining family, Brie is determined to follow her late mother’s clues and find out exactly what they are leading her to.

If You Read This is a very fast-paced book at just over 200 pages and, unfortunately, this means that what could have been a brilliant story doesn’t really get the time it needs to shine. Everything feels just that little bit too hurried and the sense of adventure ends up being stripped away because of this. Even the special secret at the end of the treasure hunt, a secret that supposedly took another character years to find, is discovered within a matter of hours in order to advance the plot and rush toward the ending.

However, all that being said, I did enjoy If You Read This a whole lot. Despite minimal time on the page every character really gets to shine, from Brie’s grumpy grandmother to her playful and occasionally immature uncle. There’s a wonderful subplot about the effects of dementia and how they can play out in the eyes of younger family members who often feel left out and confused about what is happening to beloved older relatives, and the subject of Brie’s mother is handled sensitively and lovingly. This story is set three years after her death, long enough for the casseroles and offers of help to have dried up, but still recent enough for the pain to feel ever-present, and Brie clearly feels lost—especially with the distance she now feels from her father.

If You Read This is a short yet powerful story, but I would be cautious about recommending it to all readers based on its subject matter. Approach this one with caution, but, in the right hands, this could be exactly the cathartic read someone desperately needs.
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Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the e-ARC of this novel.

Brie is grieving her mom's death, and struggling with her father's inability to stay present in her life. Receiving a set of letters from her mom on her birthday sets her on a course to find her mom's final gift, and to help mend her family.
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Brie still misses her impulsive, ebullient mother three years after her death from cancer. Her father, Papa, spends too much time at his job as a resort manager near their gated community on their island (which I assume is Jamaica, although this is not stated). This leaves her in the care of her Nana, who is somewhat old fashioned and not as much fun as her mother. When Brie has a huge 12th  birthday celebration, her best friends Femi and Smiley attend, along with lots of family members. She gets lots of great gifts, but is sad that Papa has to work again. Her Nana gives her one final gift... a letter from her mother. Her mother had always done treasure hunts with her, and left a special one for her 12th birthday, The first clue tells Briw to go to "the place summer never ends", and Brie knows this must mean her grandfather's house, Brim's Island.  It is filled with all manner of plants and fun objects, and her mother mentions a secret room that her father had put aside for her. Brie needs to go to the house, find the key, and look for the door to the secret room, but her father has to work and doesn't want to take her. She arranges with an uncle and aunt to take a bus there with Nana and her friends, but since her grandfather is in a care home suffering from dementia, she doesn't know if she will be able to get further clues or the key from him. She manages to get her grandfather to run away and hide on the bus, but has to let her family know when he goes missing once she gets them home. He has the key, and manages to give her enough information for the next clue. Her uncle decides that the grandfather can visit on the weekends when there are people around to keep an eye on him, and he can feel free. Will Brie be able to figure out her mother's puzzles as well as the puzzle that is her Papa?
Strengths: Turning 12 is a big deal, and I can't imagine havin lost my mother before that age. This was an interesting look at how families continue on, sometimes successfully and sometimes not, after the death of a key member. While the father does care for Brie, he finds it hard to spend time with her. The treasure hunt, and the trip to a beloved family home with supportive family was fun to read. There aren't as many details about like in Jamaica, as there are in this author's When Life Gives You Mangoes, but there are a few glimpses of the ocean and a bit of flavor through the grandmother's speech and cooking. 
Weaknesses: This ended a bit suddenly. Also, as someone whose mother was in a care home for a number of years before her death from Parkinson's, I'm never a fan of painting care homes as unpleasant places designed to take away someone's freedom. Sometimes they are far safer for an elderly person than being cared for by loved ones at home.
What I really think:This is a good choice for readers who want gentle, lyrical books that deal with grief by working in some mystery that a young person has to solve, like Guterson The Einsteins of Vista Point , Dilloways' Where the Sky Lives, Arnold's Just Harriet and Urban's Almost There and Almost Not.
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Thank you to #NetGalley, Kereen Getten, and the publisher of this book for eARC copy in exchange for an honest review.
The pain of losing her mother has been hard for Brie. She misses her mom being there and her treasure hunts. So Brie is surprised when on her 12th birthday when she is gifted one more treasure hunt from her mom. The treasure hunt leads her to a special island and changes her life. Will Brie be able to enjoy one last treasure hunt and heal at the same time? 
I enjoyed this story and I think it will be very relatable to young readers. As a teacher, I have had students who have lost a parent and the parent left is having a hard time. Just like Brie's dad is in the story. I think it's an important book and am thankful the author wrote it. I hope it will allow children who have lost parents to have an adventure of their own!
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This story follows Brie, a young girl who lives with her grandma and father after the death of her mother. On her 12th birthday she receives a gift from her mom that changes her life and kickstarts the book. 

This is a story about grief and loneliness. I cried. Of course I cried. I love Brie and her story so much. It is quite a short book but it keeps you hooked. I don’t want to expose anything about this story. Just go out and read it. I hope every Black little girl can get their hands on this book. Hope none of them feel as forgotten and overlooked as Brie does in this story. I want to hold her :(. 
I love Black girls. I love Black authors.

Read this. 

ARC provided by Netgalley
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Getten is a wonderful author for young readers. I hope she writes for many years to come. If You Read This was inventive, vivid and sad … bright spots near the end, but sad. 

I will read all books published by this author.

 ****** 
Not in my review - but my thoughts:
The ending didn’t work for me. I think Brim should have talked to the dad on the bus ride back to the nursing home. “I lost my daughter, don’t lose yours” Brie listening. Dad coming to a big realization. I think the letters should have not been the dads idea. But- That the final letter needed his help to find. A clue, lock combination, etc Both he and Brie opening it together. And that it was about the two of them carrying on without her. Finally - dad quits his job and the whole family opens a business on Brim’s Island. BnB or kids camp ….
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Happy Sunday! Today I will be sharing with you  “If You Read This” by Kereen Getten.

	This is a book about Brie, a girl whose mother had died a few years earlier. And while Brie’s father is becoming more distant day by day, things are hard for Brie. Until Brie’s birthday, when Brie opens a letter from her late mother. They are clues leading Brie for the last and most special treasure hunt, something that the two used to do together. It leads her to Brim’s Island, the place where Brie and her mother would spend most summers together, the place where Brie and her mother made the most memories together. Through the letters, Brie learns something new about Brim’s Island..something Brie’s mother is passing down to her.

	This is a heartfelt story about family, and bridging the relationship gap between one and another (in this case it was Brie and her father). I was eager to know what the last clue led to. Readers will be hooked, too. It was interesting as the mystery unraveled! My favorite part of the book is when Brie finds the secret of the last clue, because it is a beautiful part of the book. 

❕Thank you to NetGalley & Random House Children’s for this eArc.
❕This book will be released on August 16, 2022.

Thanks for reading this review!
Happy Reading!
-Zoya 📖

#IfYouReadThis #NetGalley
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What a beautiful, heartwarming story of a young girl who reads birthday letters from her mom, written before she passed away. She wants her dad’s acceptance and time. Themes of family dynamics, loss, connection.
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Brie is a young Jamaican girl whose mother died 3 years ago. Brie’s mom was larger than life, spontaneous and often took Brie on grand adventures. On Brie’s 12th birthday, she is given a box of letters that her mom wrote before she died promising to take her on one last adventure - a scavenger hunt - for her 12th birthday. 

What follows is a sweet coming of age story about family, friendship, community, self discovery, forgiveness and healing. I loved this book. Kareen Getten creates lovable characters in a beautiful setting and tells a wonderful story. It would be a fabulous addition to any middle grades library or classroom! 

Thanks to @netgalley, @randomhousekids  and @delacortepress for the advanced digital copy of this book!
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The setup for this story, about a Jamaican girl whose mother died three years ago, is that she just  turned 12. Up until this year, all of her birthdays have been dull. But for her 12th birthday she is given, among other things,  a box with letters from her mother, written before she died. They are a puzzle she has to solve. She wants her dad to help her, but he is too busy with work.

This annoys Brie, because she always was able to get her mother to do things with her, when she was alive, but for some reason, her father can’t get the time off work to do the fun things she used to do.

Brie gets annoyed with her father, but decides that she is going to solve the puzzle on her own, if she has to. She gets the help of her friends, and doesn't notice that although her father isn't always right there with her, he does keep showing up.

Cute story of the frustration of responsible adults, versus spontaneous ones.

<em>Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.</em>
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