Taking Up Space by Alyson Gerber Blog Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway

Tour Schedule: https://www.jeanbooknerd.com/2021/04/taking-up-space-by-alyson-gerber.html


Sarah loves basketball more than anything. Crushing it on the court makes her feel like she matters. And it’s the only thing that helps her ignore how much it hurts when her mom forgets to feed her.

But lately Sarah can’t even play basketball right. She’s slower now and missing shots she should be able to make. Her body doesn’t feel like it’s her own anymore. She’s worried that changing herself back to how she used to be is the only way she can take control over what’s happening.

When Sarah’s crush asks her to be partners in a cooking competition, she feels pulled in a million directions. She’ll have to dig deep to stand up for what she needs at home, be honest with her best friends, and accept that she doesn’t need to change to feel good about herself.


“This affirming novel offers a normalizing message about discussing body image and mental health.” —Publishers Weekly

“[Gerber] supplies a positive representation of constructive approaches to an often misunderstood condition…Pragmatic and valuable.” —Kirkus Reviews

A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
Scholastic Summer 2021 Dewey Diva Picks — Shortlist


Alyson Gerber is the author of the critically-acclaimed, own-voices novels Braced and Focused published by Scholastic. Her third novel Taking Up Space will be in stores on May 18, 2021. She has an MFA from The New School in Writing for Children and lives in New York City with her family. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @AlysonGerber.

Braced, Focused, and Taking Up Space are all Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selections. Braced received three starred reviews and has been nominated for state book awards in Oklahoma, Indiana, New Hampshire, Virginia, South Dakota, and Georgia. Focused was picked as a best book of year by The Today Show, Kirkus Reviews, and A Mighty Girl and has been nominated for state book awards in Rhode Island, Oklahoma, and Michigan. Alyson’s latest novel, Taking Up Space, based on her experience with disordered eating, will be published on May 18, 2021. Taking Up Space will help readers recognize how much they matter and see that if something negative is taking up space in their minds, even if there isn’t a name for it, they should ask for help.



My Review

This is a middle grade novel that all young people should read. It is an accessible account of what it feels like to not be comfortable in your own skin with an emphasis on food disorders and growing up in general.

I thought this novel was very well written and it really touched upon a difficult topic with clarity and details. I love that it was emphasized that there is no “easy fix” to eating disorders and that the family as a whole should be involved in the process.

Sarah and Benny’s friendship was beautiful and to have the perspective of a male character that cares about food issues just as much as the female character is important to this age group.

I gave this book 4 crowns.

Giveaway is open Internationally | Must be 13+ to Enter

–  3 Winners will receive a Copy of TAKING UP SPACE by Alyson Gerber


ENDS: JUNE 7, 2021




I don’t say anything to Mom when she walks back into the kitchen, because I don’t want Ryan and Emilia to notice I’m upset. But it doesn’t make sense. This time, I wrote down exactly what I wanted. She didn’t need to guess or think or remember. I used to just ask Mom for generic categories of food, like chips and cereal. I thought that would be easier than asking her to look for specific brands. But she barely ever bought what I wanted then either. And when I told her I needed snacks for after practice, because it was hard to wait for dinner, she started serving dinner earlier, which was great, until there was nothing to eat when I got hungry before bed. I’ve tried everything. But there’s never enough food.

I open the fridge and take out three water bottles. There isn’t much of anything on the translucent shelves, just a few plain, nonfat yogurts, salad dressing, a shriveled lemon, and what’s left of last night’s dinner—salmon and vegetables.

Mom always buys exactly what she thinks we need for breakfast and dinner. If she were cooking tonight, there would be fish or chicken and some kind of vegetable. But we’re ordering pizza for the sleepover, so there’s even less food.

When Dad is here, things are different—less empty. But he’s not here.

I close the fridge before my friends have a chance to see. “What are you girls doing to celebrate your big win?”

Mom asks.

“Shooting around,” Ryan says.

Mom smiles and then picks up the milk like she’s about to put the carton away.

“I’ll meet you outside,” I say to my friends, because I want them to leave before Mom opens the fridge.

“Cool,” Emilia says.

“Is it okay if we take these?” Ryan points to the Doritos on the counter.

“Totally,” I say, like it’s no big deal, and that’s definitely not our only bag.

“Thanks,” she says, taking the chips with her.

I wait until I hear the door close before I turn to Mom and say, “I made you a list.”

“The store didn’t have everything, sweetheart.” She opens the fridge and puts the milk and eggs away. “I got what they had.”

“But you could have bought other snacks, instead of no snacks. It’s just not enough food for a sleepover.” My words come out too loud.

“I’m sorry.” Her eyebrows knit together, like she really doesn’t know how to fix the problem.

It feels good to hear she’s sorry. But it doesn’t actually make this better for me. Snacks aren’t going to magically appear.

“I got us two new books at the library.” Mom changes the subject.

“Agatha Christie?” I ask.

She nods. “I found out about another mystery author I think we’re really going to like. She’s British too. Only new and modern. Sharna Jackson. There’s a short waiting.

Copyright © 2021 by Alyson Gerber

The Hunting Wives by May Cobb

About the Book

The Hunting Wives share more than target practice, martinis, and bad behavior in this novel of obsession, seduction, and murder.

Sophie O’Neill left behind an envy-inspiring career and the stressful, competitive life of big-city Chicago to settle down with her husband and young son in a small Texas town. It seems like the perfect life with a beautiful home in an idyllic rural community. But Sophie soon realizes that life is now too quiet, and she’s feeling bored and restless.

Then she meets Margot Banks, an alluring socialite who is part of an elite clique secretly known as the Hunting Wives. Sophie finds herself completely drawn to Margot and swept into her mysterious world of late-night target practice and dangerous partying. As Sophie’s curiosity gives way to full-blown obsession, she slips farther away from the safety of her family and deeper into this nest of vipers.

When the body of a teenage girl is discovered in the woods where the Hunting Wives meet, Sophie finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation and her life spiraling out of control.

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The Marvelous Mirza Girls by Sheba Karim

Publication Date: May 18, 2021


“Part self-discovery, part travelogue, all charming.”  — Kendare Blake #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Three Dark Crowns series 

Gilmore Girls meets vibrant New Delhi in this thoughtful and hilarious new novel about a teen facing family expectations, relationship complications, and hidden secrets in a new country—sprinkled with Sheba Karim’s signature wit and steamy romance, and perfect for readers who loved Mary H. K. Choi’s Emergency Contact and Adib Khorram’s Darius the Great Is Not Okay.   

To cure her post-senior year slump, made worse by the loss of her aunt Sonia, Noreen decides to follow her mom on a gap year trip to New Delhi, hoping India can lessen her grief and bring her voice back. 

In the world’s most polluted city, Noreen soon meets kind, handsome Kabir, who introduces her to the wonders of this magical, complicated place. With the help of Kabir—plus Bollywood celebrities, fourteenth-century ruins, karaoke parties, and Sufi saints—Noreen discovers new meanings for home. 

But when a family scandal erupts, Noreen and Kabir must face complex questions in their own relationship: What does it mean to truly stand by someone—and what are the boundaries of love?

About the Author

Sheba Karim is the author of Mariam Sharma Hits the RoadThat Thing We Call a Heart, and Skunk Girl. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and NYU School of Law and currently lives in Nashville. You can visit her online at www.shebakarim.com 

My Review

When this book was brought to my attention and pitched as Gilmore Girls meets New Delhi, I was sold. Gilmore Girls, as a series, has a special place in my heart for many reasons and I am always looking for something to fill the void it left after it ended. The Marvelous Mirza Girls is about a familial relationship, mainly between a mother and daughter but it is also about a young woman coming of age and dealing with a difficult time in her life, the loss of a loved one.

Although there were some Gilmore-esque aspects to this story, it was a bit more graphic and raw. I did appreciate the story line and the details provided. I am not the target audience for this book, but I can see how it would appeal to it’s intended age group. Even though it is an Own Voices book, as I read it, I was curious as to how some of my more conservative Middle Eastern students would feel reading this.

There are many difficult topics that are mentioned in this book including the #MeToo movement, sexual assault, hate crimes…

I gave this book 3 crowns.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Attachments by: Jeff Arch

Publication Date: May 11, 2021

Description from Publisher

At a boarding school in Pennsylvania, a deathbed request from the school’s dean brings three former students back to campus, where secrets and betrayals from the past are brought out into the open―secrets that could have a catastrophic effect on the dean’s eighteen-year-old son.
Told in alternating points of view and time frames, Attachments is the story of best friends Stewart (“Goody”) Goodman, Sandy (“Pick”) Piccolo, and Laura Appleby, the girl they both love. The friends meet in 1972 at a boarding school in coal-country Pennsylvania where they encounter Henry Griffin, the school dean, whose genuine fatherly interest and deep human bond with them is so strong that when he has a severe stroke almost twenty years later, he uses what could be his last words ever to call out their names.
Attachments is a puzzle―and the only one who knows how all the pieces fit is in a coma. In the process, longtime secrets are unearthed, revelations come out into the open, and Young Chip Griffin is about to learn something he may or may not be able to handle.

About Jeff Arch

Jeff Arch grew up in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where he spent two of his high school years at a boarding school much like the one depicted in Attachments. In the ’70s, he studied film/tv/theater production at Emerson College in Boston and then moved to Los Angeles, where he worked as a concert lighting designer and toured the country with national rock and reggae acts while teaching himself to write screenplays on the side. Years later, married and with a young family, he was teaching high school English and running a martial arts school when heard the call to write again; in 1989, he sold the school he’d built, rented a small office, and gave himself one year to write three screenplays. The second of those―a quirky romantic comedy where the two lovers don’t even meet until the very last page―sold almost immediately, and Sleepless in Seattle became a surprise megahit worldwide. For his screenplay, Jeff was nominated for an Oscar, as well as for Writers Guild and BAFTA awards, among others. His other credits include the Disney adventure film Iron Will, New Line’s romantic comedySealed With a Kiss, and the independent comedy Dave Barry’s Complete Guide to Guys. His script for SavingMilly, based on Mort Kondracke’s searing memoir, earned the 2005 Humanitas Nomination, an honor Jeff treasures. Jeff is a father, stepfather, father-in-law, and grandfather. Attachments is Jeff’s first novel.

My Review

You can tell that Jeff Arch wrote screenplays before. This debut novel was written so that the reader could conjure up a picture in their heads as if they were watching a movie. The characters were realistic and the “mystery” surrounding their summoning was heart breaking.

I enjoyed this novel and would encourage anyone who is looking for a heartfelt, realistic story, to pick this up. It was beautifully written.

I gave this book 4 crowns.

I received this ARC from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.