When Life Gives You O.J.

oj-with-borderIt’s the summer before 6th grade and Zelly wants a dog. More than anything, actually.  But her parents have said no, repeatedly, to Zelly’s pleading, bargaining, and begging.  Then her boisterous, eccentric grandfather, Ace, comes up with a crazy scheme Zelly can use to convince her parents she’s ready for the responsibility of a dog: a “pretend dog” that just happens to be a used plastic orange juice jug.  But honestly, Zelly isn’t sure she wants to spend the rest of the summer hauling a plastic jug around on a leash for “drags” (since it can’t go on a walk without actual legs), scooping up the “poo”, and facing the humiliation that will surely come when some of Zelly’s classmates see her.

In When Life Gives You O.J., Erica S. Perl writes a love letter to her grandparents.  She creates a rich, loving, sometimes-drives-a-person-crazy relationship between Ace and Zelly that perfectly captures the strong bond kids and grandparents feel for each other, even when they sometimes don’t understand each other at all.  Both Zelly and Ace, as well as the other highly likeable characters in this book are drawn with care, skillfully detailed, and delightfully realized in ways that are reminiscent of Sharon Creech and Judy Blume.  This is a great story kids will love and parents (and grandparents) will enjoy reading too.

  • Posted by Cori
One comment to “When Life Gives You O.J.”
  1. Wow! Thanks for this thoughtful and very flattering review! I’m so glad you enjoyed the book and I am excited that more kids, families, and educators will find it thanks to you!

    Best wishes,


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