Good Vibes Only is more than just a patch on Natty’s backpack. It’s her view on life, and she won’t let anyone get her down.
Even if Natty’s mom left their family and keeps flaking on visiting.
And she and her dad moved in with her grandparents.
And she’s having a hard time connecting with people at school.
If she can just keep a positive attitude, she can convince her mom this new town is great, make friends, and make everyone happy.
Lisa Greenwald’s Absolutely, Positively Natty follows Natty after a series of life-altering events. When Natty sees how down the whole town of Miller Creek is, she sets out to change it with her super positive attitude. Small attendance at a Little League game? That’s no trouble for Natty, who gets the crowd energized and active. Which leads Natty to her grandest idea yet: start a pep squad at school, cheer on all the sports, and host a pep rally that’s sure to show her mom this town, and this family, are worth visiting.
Greenwald crafts interesting characters. Despite the large cast, each character is easily remembered by their unique personalities and names. Natty’s new friends learn a thing or two about peppiness from Natty, but Natty has a lot to learn from them, as well.
At first, this feels like a fish out of water story. Natty is so positive, in this place where everyone else isn’t. As the story progresses, the reader realizes Natty is maybe too positive– like, toxic positive. Not listening to her friends, minimizing their feelings, and diminishing their experiences in the vein of ‘good vibes only.’
This middle grade novel tackles an often unspoken of mental health issue, and shows how positivity can only be a coping mechanism, not an ultimate solution. The dangers of toxic positivity are shown, subtly at first and with growing obviousness, helping the reader empathize and understand Natty and where she’s coming from.
I love a middle grade that focuses on friendship and personal growth, and Absolutely, Positively Natty delivers.
Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and HarperCollins Children’s Books for an advanced e-arc such that I could share my honest opinions.
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