Cover Image: Dad's Girlfriend and Other Anxieties

Dad's Girlfriend and Other Anxieties

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Not a comfortable read, when our protagonist makes bad choices at every turn and creating constant complications for herself and the other characters. The characters are decently developed and the plot is compelling. It simply was not something I enjoyed.
Was this review helpful?
This was a great MG novel! I'm always happy when books feature characters with anxiety. Overall, I would definitely recommend!

I received an e-ARC from the publisher.
Was this review helpful?
"Dad’s Girlfriend and Other Anxieties" is a realistic portrayal of a pre-teen dealing with not only an anxiety disorder but growing up and facing possible changes in the makeup of her family (her father’s possible remarriage, gaining a stepmother and stepsister.) And despite all of Ava’s attempts to sabotage their entire vacation and even her dad’s relationship, it’s a warm and wonderful story.

Ava is a great character, and her anxiety has its hooks into her deep. As a result, she researches and overthinks everything. Although Ava consciously makes decisions to sidetrack everyone else’s plans but genuinely feels terrible doing it. But she faces her fears and takes brave steps to admit her actions and try to make things right. Z is a wonderful, spirited girl dealing with her own insecurities and struggles with ADHD. Jenn and Eric are both good parents who have potentially found a new partner to love and share their lives with. They have their hands full with these two girls.

Fitting into a new situation is difficult for most people and especially tough at the pre-teen age. The story portrays the girls dealing with the possibility of their two small families becoming one and having to share their parents with new people. It dramatically explores some of the typical issues that come up, but there is a satisfactory resolution. I felt for both of these girls and the situations they were experiencing, and was quite affected by some emotional scenes.

The fun mountain resort setting is a bonus with all the cool activities going on. I loved the mud race. The young resort host, José, was an admirable role model/mentor with definite summer crush potential.

With its engaging pre-teen characters, realistic representation of the impact of anxiety, and the tightrope walk that meshing two families can be, I recommend DAD’S GIRLFRIEND AND OTHER ANXIETIES for middle-grade readers, especially those with anxiety, ADHD, or related issues.
Was this review helpful?
Dad's Girlfriend and other Anxieties is a well written and insightful story for both children and adults alike. The story is about Ava who is twelve years old and suffers with anxiety. Avas father takes her on holiday to meet his girlfriend and her daughter Mackenzie. Poor Ava struggles with anxiety on a daily basis so you can just imagine how she must feel going away to meet people she doesn't know. I thought the author did a great job capturing the thoughts and feelings of somebody at such a young age suffering with anxiety. As an anxiety sufferer myself I found the book relatable and handled very well. This is such an important book for youngsters to be able to read to make them not feel so alone if they suffer with anxiety and also open the minds and eyes of people without anxiety to help them understand it and recognise it much better in others.
Was this review helpful?
Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: Dad’s Girlfriend and Other Anxities

Author: Kellye Crocker

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 4/5

Diversity: Anxiety Disorder MC, ADHD character, Hispanic characters

Recommended For...: middle grade readers, contemporary, blended families, children of divorce, anxiety disorder

Publication Date: November 22, 2022

Genre: MG Contemporary

Age Relevance: 10+ (pregnancy, gore, anxiety attacks, period talk, HP reference, parental death, sexist remark, grief, racism)

Explanation of Above: There is pregnancy mentioned and some period talk. There is a slight mention of blood. There are showings of anxiety attacks. There is one slight HP reference. There are mentions of a parental death and grief. There is one sexist remark and mentions of racism.

Publisher: Albert Whitman and Company

Pages: 288

Synopsis: Dad hasn't even been dating his new girlfriend that long, so Ava is sure that nothing has to change in her life. That is, until the day after sixth grade ends, when Dad whisks her away on vacation to meet The Girlfriend and her daughter in terrifying Colorado, where even the squirrels can kill you! Managing her anxiety, avoiding altitude sickness, and surviving the mountains might take all of Ava's strength, but at least this trip will only last two weeks. Right?

Review: I loved this book so much! As someone with anxiety I deeply related to this character and her struggles. I don’t like surprises and I am always thinking of the worst case scenario. The book did well to present an anxious character and then give really good advice on calming your anxiety down, with 2 techniques and some advice to remember. The book also did well to be relatable to kids who are about to be apart of blended families and those going through their parents divorcing. The book had really well done character development and world building and this will definitely be a book I remember for a long time.

The only issue I had with the book was the HP reference. It really could have been any other book mentioned in the context it was mentioned in (“that was as thick as the ____ books”).

Verdict: It was great! Highly recommend.
Was this review helpful?
Kellye Crocker's DAD'S GIRLFRIEND AND OTHER ANXIETIES is what so many young readers need now! In a writing class this summer, more kids than not mentioned having social anxiety, so I have no doubt they will see themselves on these pages. That the author combines something serious. with humor and a relatable life situation (a parent dating) makes this a must-read book for kids who know they have anxiety, think they might, and kids who don't realize they know someone with anxiety. This is a good example of what Dr. Rudine Sims meant with "windows and mirrors." I'll be recommending it to students, parents, and fellow writing instructors!
Was this review helpful?
When twelve-year-old Ava’s dad takes her on a camping trip in Colorado to introduce her to his new girlfriend, Ava prepares herself by researching all the potential dangers: altitude sickness, mountain lions, flash floods, and, worst of all, adorable ground squirrels that could carry bubonic plague! Ava suffers from anxiety, and her fears spin out of control at the prospect of meeting the Girlfriend and her daughter Z and the changes these new people may bring to her life. Despite the fact that the Girlfriend is pretty nice, Z is pretty interesting, and Ava is not usually the sort of girl to make trouble, she decides to sabotage the trip in hopes that everyone will come to their senses and they can all return to their nice, safe homes. Ava’s plans keep backfiring on her, however, such as when she cancels her dad’s reservation at the lodge and they end up having to camp in a hut with no electricity. Humor is infused throughout, and Ava remains likable even as she dumps glitter in her dad’s sleeping bag and then blatantly denies it, because she is horrified at herself, too! Though readers may laugh out loud at some of Ava’s pranks and her obsession with “dangerous” ground squirrels, Ava’s anxiety is never trivialized. She talks about working with a therapist back home, and handwritten-style lists are interspersed through the book, some of them offering tips on how to work through anxiety attacks. Ava’s relationship with her single dad is realistic, as she is by turns annoyed at how he treats like her a child and at the same time wants to be protected by him. When Ava finally realizes she’s gone too far and her actions have hurt others, she finds the courage to face her fears and own up to her deeds, sparking a satisfying resolution. I highly recommend this book, an unusual combination of adventure, humor, and heartfelt emotions.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an e-copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. 

This is a great middle grade read! I was an anxious kid so I know I would have related heavily to all the confusion and chaos that Ava was enduring! Middle school is a tough time especially when enduring a parent dating, making and losing friends, mental health struggles and navigating growing up. I think this is a really important story for kids to read especially during middle school! Books are sometimes the best way to know you aren’t alone!
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an eARC of this book.

I enjoyed this middle grade novel! Ava has anxiety, which is very relatable to many students. She and her dad Eric go to Colorado to visit his girlfriend and her daughter. Z. Ava has lots of anxiety about the trip, both the “dangers” of Colorado and of meeting his dad’s girlfriend and her daughter. I was a very anxious preteen/teen so I definitely found it to be a realistic look at living with anxiety. This book is a pleasant story about dealing with family changes.
Was this review helpful?
Ava has a lot of anxieties, that much is clear. It disturbed me that her dad fails to recognize this straightaway and sometimes encourages her obsessive fact-finding and looking for danger around every corner. I mean, I think the most dangerous place in the world is Australia...maybe Ava hasn't read that far yet? 

This is a good YA book about blending families, dealing with anxiety and change. I have been in Ava's shoes meeting "The Girlfriend" and unfortunately most were not as nice as Jenn and Mackenzie in this book. It was tough to read because Ava's anxieties literally leapt off the page, although I thought her obsession with being squashed by a moose in Colorado was a little far-fetched.
Was this review helpful?
This book was an unexpected surprise, in a very good way. It didn't hook me right away because despite totally getting the mc is young & that she has anxiety, she was acting up a bit too much. She lied and did harmful things and she continued to act this way throughout more than half of the book. While it did keep me interested, it also frustrated me a lot. However, I'm so glad I stuck with it because by the end, we see such a huge change in her and realize it's all part of the character development and how necessary her whole "acting up" behavior was. I found all the side characters well shaped and interesting too! When I finished the book I had a smile on my face. The story was quite an adventure and it ended up being so meaningful and heartwarming with a wonderful message. I really enjoyed it and the anxiety representation was really good though a bit overwhelming at times. I can't wait to recommend it to everyone!
Was this review helpful?
This middle-grade book takes a regular middle-grader's anxiety and -- takes it over the top. While Ava's various fears are understandable, mostly focusing on change, the actions she takes during this book are extreme and show how anxiety can warp your thoughts so that these seem like reasonable things to do. As an adult, I personally felt anxious about Ava's actions, but I think a middle-grader would enjoy the hijinks that Ava gets herself into. I also enjoyed our "foil" character of Z, Ava's new stepsibling. I'd recommend this to any middle-grader going through changes and overly worried about them. Four stars. Thanks, NetGalley.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to NetGalley and Albert Whitman & Company for the eARC!

DAD'S GIRLFRIEND AND OTHER ANXIETIES is a warm, fun-filled MG contemporary debut that takes an honest look at anxiety, blended families, and embracing what it means to be brave. I can already tell that this is going to be one of my top MG reads from this year!

Recently diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, middle-grader Ava is terrified of anything unpredictable. So when her father whisks her away to Colorado to meet his new girlfriend and her daughter — and fails to mention that they'll be spending their trip in the dangerous Colorado mountains —  Ava isn't happy. Hijinks ensue as she tries her best to spoil her dad's plans, despite growing to care for The Girlfriend, Jenn, and her daughter, Z.

I tend to read mostly first-person POV when it comes to MG, but I absolutely loved the close third-person narrative voice of this story. Crocker gave us so much insight into Ava's fears and emotions, and she did it with warmth and honesty. I really appreciated how she never shied away from talking about "tougher" topics for her MG audience, and she never spoke down to the reader. 

The portrayal of Ava's anxiety was so real and relatable, and I loved watching her face her fears and learn new coping techniques. She made plenty of mistakes, but I spent the whole book rooting so hard for her! 

This story also had a great cast of side characters. Jenn ("The Girlfriend") was one of my favourites — I loved how Ava came to care for her in spite of herself. Z was also very fun (and I really appreciated what we found out about her at the end). The setting itself felt like a character, too, and it was nice seeing Ava's perception of it change throughout the story.

Overall, this was a wonderful debut with great messages about bravery, family, and accepting yourself. I absolutely loved reading it and will be eagerly waiting future books from Kellye Crocker!
Was this review helpful?
A huge thanks to the publisher  for my complimentary copy and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

The story tells the story of Ava, a twelve year old girl who struggles with anxiety who is one day whisked away by her father to Colorado to meet his girlfriend and her daughter, Mackenzie. The story relates to all of us who have been anxious about everyday life and I highly recommend it to everyone.
Was this review helpful?
12-year-old Ava’s story made me laugh, ache, and cringe, all in the best middle grade way. Struggling with anxiety that affects almost everything she does—emotions she describes as more like her dad’s jumbled soup than the organized Legos her therapist would like her to characterize them as—Ava is thrown by her trip to Colorado to meet her father’s serious girlfriend. Hijinks ensue that are both funny and touching at the same time. Middle grade readers curious about shifting family dynamics, perseverance, unconditional love, and trying new things that can be very hard will fall for this big-hearted story.

Thanks for NetGalley and the publisher for an advance copy of Kellye Crocker’s wonderful debut
Was this review helpful?
A fun, insightful, and heartfelt story about Ava, a girl with anxiety who's trying to stave off big changes that may come from her dad's deepening relationship with his girlfriend. When he springs a Colorado mountain vacation on Ava with his girlfriend and her daughter, Ava is beset with anxiety and embarks on a quest to sabotage the trip and the relationship. Kellye Crocker does a masterful job of putting the reader in Ava's mental space, showing her anxiety with empathy, humor, and nuance. A wonderful read that I highly recommend.
Was this review helpful?
With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an early copy in return for an honest review.

This is the story of Ava who travels to Colorado with her dad during the summer between elementary and middle school to meet her dad's new girlfriend. They head off to a wilderness resort and end up camping...which gives Ava lots of anxiety. Things do not go according to plan.

By the way, I went back and forth between being really frustrated with Ava's behavior (which I think middle school students will think perfectly fit the situation...like disabling the car!) and being frustrated with the dad for not being more understanding of Ava's anxiety.

Note: As an elementary teacher I personally wouldn't want to explain the situation Jenn finds herself in, so I would probably save this for upper MG (6th-8th grade readers)
Was this review helpful?
I want to thank NetGalley for giving me a digital copy of “Dad’s Girlfriend and Other Anxieties” to review.

This book follows a young girl during the summer between elementary and middle school as she takes a trip to Colorado with her dad, his new girlfriend, and the girlfriend’s daughter. She’s recently been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and she’s not looking forward to anything Colorado has in store for her.

I was really excited to read this book. I’m a huge fan of middle grade novels especially ones that focus on disability. However, I have to say that there were multiple parts of this book that just fell short for me. I enjoyed most of the characters and felt that Crocker did a good job of creating varying dynamics, but the actual writing wasn’t strong enough for my personal taste. I felt like there were moments where it was being simplified to fit the middle grade genre and it distracted from the intentions of the book.

I thought the pacing of this book was well done and the emotions were written with so much weight behind them. You could definitely step into the character’s shoes and feel how they were feeling.

Overall, I think that this was a cute book for kids who are struggling with anxiety and changing family dynamics, but it’s not a favorite of mine.

My CAWPILE score for this book was 7.0 which is equivalent to four stars.
Was this review helpful?
What a great Middle School book. It is well written where it encompasses what a typical 6th grader feels along with situations that a lot of them are going through. Friends changing as you get older, two families coming together, anxiety and much more.
Was this review helpful?
This book felt overdone in the sense that it was not especially believable or all that intriguing. Information about the setting was fun to read, but ,any of the situations felt contrived and overdone.
Was this review helpful?