The weight of everything

Marcia Argueta Mickelson

Book - 2023

Following her mother's tragic death, seventeen-year-old Sarah takes on the role of caretaker to her grieving father and younger brother, which leaves little time and emotional energy for a relationship, but when a school project helps her rediscover her love of art, her perspective shifts.

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Location Call Number   Status
Young Adult New Shelf YOUNG ADULT FICTION/Mickelso Marcia (NEW SHELF) Checked In
School fiction
Minneapolis : Carolrhoda Lab [2023]
Physical Description
233 pages ; 22 cm
Ages 12-18.
Grades 10-12.
Main Author
Marcia Argueta Mickelson (author)
Review by Booklist Review

Sarah has been holding everything together since her mother died six months ago. That means making sure her father's drinking doesn't get him hurt, protecting her little brother from what their lives really look like now, and using her talents as an artist to pay their growing bills. So when she meets David, someone who isn't afraid of her family complications, she wants to let herself have the joy that would come from starting a relationship with him. But when things escalate at home, she questions if she'll ever have space in her life to let someone in. While this is a novel about grief, it's also more than that: it's a novel about what shouldering adult responsibilities can do to a young person. Sarah's desire for freedom and her sense of duty are both palpable on the page. The narrative also addresses historical censorship and what students are and aren't allowed to learn about (or even talk about) in school, which feels particularly relevant today.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Following her mother's death six months ago, biracial 17-year-old Sarah Mosley must transfer out of her Austin fine arts boarding school to become the primary caregiver for her eight-year-old brother, Steven, as well as the siblings' now-alcohol-dependent and unemployed father, who is white. At her new high school, she meets light-brown skinned David Garza, a handsome and caring classmate who catches her up on coursework. There's an immediate spark between them, but Sarah feels that she must set aside her growing feelings for David--as well as her grief surrounding her mother--to focus on familial responsibilities. When she begins exploring her Mexican and Guatemalan roots for a Spanish language class project, however, the research helps her connect with her mother's heritage, provides an opportunity to grow closer to David, and opens up new avenues of communication between Sarah and her father. Sarah's relationship with Steven is an unparalleled bright spot; despite the sometimes overwhelming responsibility of being Steven's de facto parent, Sarah's joy in supporting him is palpable. Through Sarah's tentative steps toward healing, Mickelson (Where I Belong) attentively showcases the mending power of tenderness, patience, and love in this moving read. Ages 12--up. (May)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by Kirkus Book Review

After her mother's death and father's breakdown, Sarah must balance household responsibilities and taking care of her little brother with attending a new school. Seventeen-year-old San Antonio teen Sarah Mosley's life in the six months since her mother died has been full of changes. A visual artist, she had to give up her spot at an Austin boarding school for the fine arts to move home and act as the primary caregiver for her precocious 8-year-old brother, Steven. Since her grief-stricken, hard-drinking White father lost his job as a university professor, Sarah has spent time selling custom drawings on Etsy to earn extra money for the family budget. At her new high school, Sarah decides to take Spanish to connect with her Mexican and Guatemalan maternal heritage, and she meets handsome and attentive David Garza, who's immediately drawn to her. Despite their mutual attraction, Sarah feels too overwhelmed with family responsibilities to seriously consider romance. A highlight of the story is Sarah's decision to base an art project on her family's personal connection to her mother's favorite Diego Rivera painting. The narrative lovingly 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. (author's note, discussion questions) (Fiction. 12-18) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.