Just Shy of Ordinary

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Author: A. J. Sass

Category: Children's , Teenage & educational

Book Format: Hardback

Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers US

ISBN: 9780316506175

RRP: $29.99

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Thirteen-year-old Shai is an expert problem-solver. There’s never been something they couldn’t research and figure out on their own. But there’s one thing Shai hasn’t been able to logic their way through: picking at the hair on their arms.

Ever since their mom lost her job, the two had to move in with family friends, and the world went into pandemic lockdown, Shai’s been unable to control their picking. Now, as the difficult times recede and everyone begins to discover their “new normal,” Shai’s hoping the stress that caused their picking will end, too.

After reading that a routine can reduce anxiety, Shai makes a plan to create a brand new normal for themself that includes going to public school. But when their academic evaluation places them into 9th grade instead of 8th, it sets off a chain of events that veer off the path Shai had prepared for, encouraging Shai to learn how to accept life’s twists and turns, especially when you can’t plan for them.

A. J. Sass (he/they) is the author of the ALA Rainbow Book List Top 10 titles Ellen Outside the Lines, which was also a Sydney Taylor Honor Book, and Ana on the Edge, as well as Camp QUILTBAG (co-written with Nicole Melleby). He grew up in the Midwest and South, spending many of his summers with his family enjoying the beautiful Northwoods lakes and scenery in Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his husband and two cats who act like dogs. He invites you to visit him online at sassinsf.com.

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