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Reviewed by Lisa M. Schlegel for Readers' Favorite
Gravity: A Short Story by Jessica Schaub is suitable for Middle Grade readers, depicting serious and heart-breaking events. Jeff and his family are having financial difficulties which result in belt-tightening strategies such as canceling cable, sharing a pre-paid cell phone, gardening and canning, and shopping at second hand stores. Jeff is marked as an under-privileged student in the lunch room and the gym. During all this, his family maintains humor and normal family dynamics. During the school year, Jeff seeks to win an art contest and the heart of his long-time friend, Caitlyn. While trying to earn an A in gym class, Jeff finds himself trapped by an moral dilemma. He chooses a reasonable option, but one that lands him in greater trouble and humiliation.
Jessica Schaub has written a story that will make the reader laugh during one chapter, and shed a tear in the next. I think it would be a good vehicle to initiate discourse with children going through emotional turmoil. Jeff and Caitlyn grieve over the death of Caitlyn's brother, John Paul. The story is relevant to our times as John Paul died during his tour in Iraq. Jeff's experience may help other children through their grief. The story is wrapped up neatly. Some battles are won and others lost, just like in life. The overriding theme revolves around relationships with family and friends. Religious faith plays a role, but in a realistic way, not preachy. In summary, this is a solid story, realistic and heart-warming.