For the Record
From 9 to 12 | 256 pages
A middle-grade novel thoughtfully explores the realities of parents’ divorce
Twelve-year-old Justine’s parents are recently divorced. She and her little sister, Bea, go back and forth between their parents’ homes in Montreal. Their mother, whose anxiety manifests as the need to control, believes that their father and beloved half-sister are a bad influence on Justine and Bea. So, she enlists Justine in collecting evidence that would lead to getting sole custody.
Justine accepts her mother’s view of her father at first and begins writing detailed notes about his behavior: He doesn’t stick to Bea’s strict bedtime. He’s late dropping them off at school. He makes sandwiches with white bread. But when Justine crafts an outright lie for her mother’s court case, she starts to question her mother’s behavior, and her own.
This thoughtful, supportive look at parental alienation and its impact on children tenderly balances this difficult topic with moments of joy, love, and connection. Throughout the book, Justine’s clever, unique voice guides readers as she navigates complicated family dynamics and summons the courage to tell the truth, no matter the consequences.Monique Polak
"Thoughtfully and honestly explores the realities of divorce, anxiety, and how kids are impacted by parental behavior. Justine’s voice will grab readers as she navigates changing family situations and the importance of sharing the truth ... Children with divorced parents will see themselves reflected in Justine’s nuanced story."- School Library Journal
"Polak spells out Justine’s emotional journey, which will also resonate with readers sensitive to the weighty subject of parental alienation, expounded on in an author’s note and resources ... an especially good selection for children navigating family dissolutions."- Booklist
"Children who are going through this same situation, or have gone through it in the past, will appreciate the realistic look at parental alienation syndrome as well as the hopeful ending ... A good choice."- School Library Connection