If Only by Carole Geithner

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A stunning debut about one girl's journey through loss and grief.

Corinna's world is crushed after her mother dies of cancer. How does she get through the funeral, trays of ziti, a father who can't communicate, the first day of school, Mother's Day, people who don't know what to say, and the entire eighth-grade year? Despite her alienation from many of her peers, including her best friend, she succeeds in finding support. She dares to bare her innermost fears, hurts, and wishes, and even allows herself to have a flowering crush on a boy in the school band. She also finds out deep secrets about her mother which she never knew. It's a year that will change Corinna's life forever.

About Carole Geithner

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The emotional power of IF ONLY is informed by Carole’s more than twenty years of experience as a clinical social worker, working with scores of children who have had a parent die, as well as adults whose childhoods were shaped by parent loss. Carole is currently an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychology at George Washington University School of Medicine. This is her first novel. She lives with her family in Maryland.
Published August 1, 2012 by Scholastic Inc.. 341 pages
Genres: Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for If Only

Kirkus Reviews

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A detailed exploration of grief in one year of an eighth-grade girl's life.

Feb 16 2012 | Read Full Review of If Only

Portland Book Review

This book follows the first school year after the mother’s passing, and as it progresses, we see that life goes on and there are hopeful scenes of the loss easing.

Aug 02 2012 | Read Full Review of If Only


From a school support group to shopping with a friend’s mother, from visiting with her favorite aunt to a first kiss, Corinna finds comfort, solace and even happiness in moments both extraordinary and mundane.

Mar 28 2012 | Read Full Review of If Only


The author's mother, Portia Sonnenfeld, died when Geithner was just out of college, and some details overlap between the novel and real life: Sonnenfeld conducted the Chamber Symphony of Princeton;

Feb 28 2012 | Read Full Review of If Only

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