Braced by Alyson Gerber

Braced by Alyson Gerber
February 9, 2019 Alexandra Adlawan

For Middle School Girls

When 12-year-old Rachel learns that her scoliosis has worsened, and she will need to wear a back brace to keep her spine straight, she is devastated. Rachel is afraid that she will not be able to play soccer, and terrified that she will not be able to hide her condition from her friends and classmates – but her mother is determined to spare her the spinal fusion surgery that she herself has as a teenager.


The first time the brace is described it sounds awful. The first time Rachel puts it on was even worse. But the surgery to fix the problem sounds like torture. Bits and pieces are explained about it throughout the story. Basically, it involves a metal rod, screws and a lot of pain. If I had a choice, I’d choose the brace.


You’ve probably noticed by now that I read a lot of books about kids in tough situations. In my opinion, the kids who’ve had it the hardest are Maisie from Facelessby Alyssa Sheinmel, who had half her face burnt off, Joe from Bubble by Stewart Foster, who has an autoimmune disease and can’t leave his hospital room or else he’ll die, and Ada from The War that Saved my Life, who had an uncaring mother, a clubfoot and lived during WWII. Those kids are a 10 of the ‘My Life is Tough’ Scale. Rachel’s situation is about a 6.5. That might seem high but I’m factoring in that she’s in middle school and having anything different about you in middle school is difficult. For example, middle school kids have the ability to make fun of you but in an actuate way. I should know; I was bullied most of middle school.


I was confused by the fact that Rachel would have to wear the brace 23 hours a day. I wondered the point of the 1-hour break until it was explained that it was for bathing and stretching.


The most important thing to take away from this book is how important it is to talk about how you feel. I myself tend to bottle up my emotions for long periods of time until I snap. I realize that’s not healthy. So, don’t be like me and speak your mind if something is bothering you.


What makes this story so great is that it’s basically an autobiography about the author’s life. She too hadscoliosis and hadto wear a back brace for twenty-three hours a day and her mother had surgery to fix her scoliosis. The difference between Rachel and the author is that they handled having a back brace in different ways. Rachel came out the other side better than ever. The author instead closed herself off from everyone. Be sure to read the Author’s Note at the back of this book to learn more.


This weeks’ Weird but True Fact about the Spine

There are sour taste receptors in your spinal cord.


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