The Weight of Everything
by Marcia Argueta Mickelson
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Pub Date 02 May 2023 | Archive Date 31 May 2023
Lerner Publishing Group, Carolrhoda Lab ®
It’s been six months since Sarah’s mom died. Three months since her dad fell apart. Sarah has left her fine arts boarding school to take care of her dad and her little brother, and now she’s trying to hold everything together at home while adjusting to the local public high school.
With her dad’s drinking and spending getting out of control, Sarah struggles to make sure that the bills are paid, that her brother is fed and safe, that her dad’s grief won’t crush them all. She has no time for art, unless she’s cranking out a piece to sell online for some grocery money. And she definitely doesn’t have the time or the emotional energy to find out if her sweet, handsome classmate, David Garza, could be more than a friend.
But then a school project prompts Sarah to delve into her mom’s Mexican and Guatemalan roots. As she learns more about this side of her heritage, Sarah starts to understand her mom better—and starts to face her own grief. When she stumbles upon a long-buried piece of history that mattered deeply to her mom, Sarah realizes she can’t carry her pain silently anymore. She has to speak up, and she can’t do it alone.
"[L]ovingly conveys the pivotal role older siblings can play after a parent's death and weaves in Sarah's new interest in Guatemalan history and social activism in an organic manner. A thoughtful and substantive story about loss, cultural discovery, and first love."—Kirkus Reviews
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 19 members
In The Weight of Everything by Marcia Argueta Mickelson we meet our protagonist, Sarah, and her little brother, Steven, six months after their mother passes away in a car accident. Their father is so deep in his grief that he cannot care for himself and most certainly cannot care for his children. Sarah steps up into a parental role she shouldn't have to navigate. She's trying to figure out how to hold on to her dreams of being an artist while also ensuring her brother's safety and well-being.
There's a romance that develops between her and her friend David and she worries that if she lets herself fall for him she'll regret it. Sarah's Dad spends most of his time either sleeping or drinking and avoiding his children so as not to think about how much emotional pain he's in. He has a best friend whose role is crucial to his eventually starting to heal.
Art is Sarah's passion and when her art teacher assigns an end of semester project she decides to make some sketches based on old photos of her great grandfather who left Guatemala in 1954 during the CIA coup against the Guatemalan president. She uses her art project to honor her mother's memory in a special way. David is by her side through it all which is the most romantic part of the story.
It takes another accident that places Steven at risk to get Dad to finally accept the help he needs. The ending of the story is also a beautiful new beginning for everyone.
Thank you to the author and publisher for the e-arc copy!