Get A Grip, Vivy Cohen!
By Sarah Kapit
February 25, 2020
Published by Dial Books
Ever since VJ Capello showed Vivy how to throw a knuckleball three years ago at a fundraiser for autism, Vivy has been dreaming of the day when she will get to play as a pitcher for a baseball team. As luck would have it, after playing catch with her brother Nate, a coach notices Vivy’s talents and recruits her to play for his little league team. Things get even better when VJ responds to the letters Vivy has been sending him, updating her progress as a knuckleballer! Although she began writing to VJ as an assignment for her social skills class, the more the two write, the more they bond over their love of baseball and the challenges that they face in the game. For Vivy, challenges occur when kids on her team bully her because of her autism. Making matters worse, Vivy’s own mother questions Vivy’s ability to play the sport because of her autism. With the support of her dad, brother, and pitcher Alex, Vivy is able to prove once and for all what an amazing knuckleballer she is to everyone.
This epistolary novel vividly and honestly captures Vivy’s growth out on the field and in her personal life. As she grows confidence as a knuckleballer, she also becomes more confident in herself and in making friends. The novel has a diverse cast of characters– from Vivy, who is a young Jewish girl with autism, VJ who is African American, Alex who is Latino, and her brother, Nate, who comes out as gay. Kapit’s writing is thoughtful and nuanced, capturing the unique struggles that each of these characters faces in their day to day lives. As a chairperson for the Association for Autistic Community, Kapit writes knowledgeable about autism and perfectly depicts Vivy as a child on the spectrum. Kapits debut novel is a home run for sure!