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Book Review: Honestly Elliott

Title:Honestly Elliott

Author: Gillian McDunn

Spec Spot

What's it about?

Elliott's life isn't easy. He's at a new school, his have recently divorced and his step mother is pregnant with his little brother. If that's not enough, he's struggling with connecting with his dad and he feels like he just keeps messing up and now he's got to do this big school project and no one wants to be his partner. And then Maribel agrees to be his partner and even listens to his thoughts and suggestions when it comes to the project, which is surprising becuase she's popular.

Together, the two embark on an adventure that allows Elliott to define what a friend is and how to be a good friend to others, how to start forming a stronger connection with his dad, take responsibility for his actions. He begins to explore how to better cope with his ADHD and find ways to not just improve his skills in the kitchen, but use them in different ways, moving him closer to his dreams for the future.


Favorite Character: Elliott. He was just a sweet kid and I loved the way he represented ADHD (as I'll discuss latter). I also loved that he loved cooking which is something we often associate with girls. I also found myself relating to him more then I expected to.

Least Favorite Character: At first, I thought it was going to Elliott's dad and step mom. In fact, I was sure that I was going to really dislike them and name them my least favorite. But they redeemed themselves. I think, now I would have to say that my least favorite characters were most of Elliott's lunch friends, not becuase they weren't the nicest to him, but becuase they pretend to be his friend when they have no intentions of actually being his friends and that just annoys me.

Favorite Part: Hands down, when the baby was born. It's not that I didn't predict how it was going to go, I did. But it was the emotion and how sweet the moment was. It was the bond between those most important in that moment. Yes. I even cried a little. It's true.

Least Favorite Part: I think it was the first time Elliott cooked at his dad's house. It wasn't the cooking itself, it was the way his parents reacted to it. He put so much love and passion into it, and they were far more worried about superficial things then the action and intent behind it. It was taking something that mattered so much to Elliott and minimizing it, belittling it and, as a parent, that's hard to watch.

Favorite Quote: "The goal isn't perfection- the goal is making something new." (pg. 18) As a perfectionist at times, this line just hit me a little to hard. So often, I strive to create something, weather it be social media content, a business, food, ect and I expect myself to do so perfectly, even if it's something totally new that I've never done before. But it's not about being perfect, it's about having fun and creating something new, something that may need improvements, but is the first steps to something great if it isn't great already. It's the journey, the experience, the emotion that goes into the process more then the end result.

Other Thoughts:

As a 40 year old mother, admit that it's easy to fall behind on things that move quickly, like the medical field. I am guilty of associating ADHD with nonstop motion and not so desirable behavior. The truth is, there's so much more to it then that. In fact, now what used to be ADD is now ADHD- inattentive type. Our understanding is greater and we're actively discussing and acknowledging that it's not just about not being able to behave in the expected way. I loved that Elliott has ADHD and has some challenges with it, but he's not constantly "on the go", he's not a behavior issue, he just struggles to pay attention and keep his thoughts organized and focused. I love that he's portrayed as such an awesome kid that is so relatable rather then the "bad" kid which often happens. I felt like it was a more relevant and relatable representation that helps to take the stigma away from the diagnosis.

I also really appreciated that his dad was willing to put in the work and effort to connect with Elliott and form a deeper relationship with him. It's not an arch that is often, I feel, seen with father figurers and I appreciated that so much!

And, of course, I loved that recipes from the story are in the back of the book, too!

When I picked up this book, I didn't think I would have strong feelings about it. I thought it'd be an okay book, but nothing I loved or hated. Instead, I really liked it and I'm excited to share it with my daughter who, at the time of writing this, is in the process of being tested for ADHD herself.


I give this book a


out of

10 pies

But that's just me! What did you think? Did you love it? Did you hate the way ADHD was represented? What about Celiac Disease? Let us know in the comments

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