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The author of The Benefits of Being an Octopus delivers a stirring novel in which one small act of kindness ripples out to connect four kids in need of support.
Libby comes from a long line of bullies. To cope, she leaves motivational postcards around town for others who might feel as belittled as she does. When she hears about a kid on the other side of the country who's getting the bully treatment, she mails him a postcard saying: "You're amazing."
That kid is Vincent. His plan to stop the bullying backfired in a big way, so he's stopped going to school. But when he gets Libby's note, he's so moved by her gesture that he wants to help someone, too. He starts bringing food to T, who's homeless and living on a sidewalk. T doesn't identify as male or female, and ran away from home because their family wouldn't accept them. As T and Vincent get to know each other, T helps build Vincent's confidence, and inspires him to write to a kid he saw in the newspaper recently.
That kid is Jack. He's been petitioning to keep his small school open; it might lose funding if it doesn't make some changes. One of them is to add a gender-neutral bathroom--making transgender students a hot-button issue at the school board meeting. Jack gets misquoted in a newspaper that Vincent reads, and Vincent sends him a letter explaining how we all need to listen better and let people be who they are. Vincent's letter helps Jack start thinking more deeply, as does meeting Libby, who is astounded at how much change her small act of hopefulness has wrought . . . and will continue to ripple out.
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