Title: Focused

Author: Alyson Gerber

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Reviewer: Yolanda Ridge

ISBN: 978-1338185973

Clea really tries to do well in middle school and meet her parent’s expectations by being organized and on time. Trouble is, she’s constantly distracted. Pretty much the only thing she’s able to focus on is chess. But her position on the chess team becomes threatened by bad grades, the insecure (but popular) girl on the team, and her pending diagnosis of ADHD.

Before she can get the medication she needs, she blurts out some personal information about her best friend, Red, who’s tired of Clea’s lack of inhibition. Through it all, she’s supported by her family and a new friend, Sanam. Along with medical and educational professionals, her supportive group of friends and family help Clea to start advocating for herself and asking for the help she needs.

Someone I’m very close to has ADHD. But until I read Focused, I didn’t have a clear idea on how it affected that person internally. I’m very grateful to Alsyon Gerber for sharing her personal insight into the condition through the fictional story of Clea. While everyone’s experience with ADHD is different, Clea’s struck me as authentic and relatable.

I can not recommend this book highly enough. Focused should be in every middle grade classroom – and not just for the students, but teachers and parents too.