Not If I Can Help It by Carolyn Mackler (author)

Suitable for 11 - 14 years

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Product description

From award-winning Carolyn Mackler, the story of Willa, who has been living with Sensory Processing Disorder but is thrown for a BIG loop when her dad announces he’s dating Willa’s best friend’s mum.Willa likescertain things to be certain ways. Her socks have to be soft . . . and definitely can’t have irritating tags on the inside. She loves the crunch of popcornand nachos . . . but is grossed out by the crunch of a baby carrot. And slimy foods? Those are the worst. Willa can manage all these things – but there are some things she can’t deal with, like her father’s big news. He’s been keeping a big secret from her . . . that he’s been dating the mum of Willa’s best friend Ruby. Willa does NOT like the idea of them being together. And she does NOT like the idea of combining families. And she does NOT like the idea of her best friend becoming her sister overnight. Will she go along with all of these changes? NOT if she can help it!

  • Not If I Can Help it deals with themes of neuro-disorders and changing schools with warmth and humour
  • For fans of The Goldfish Boy, A Kind of Spark and Nothing Ever Happens Here
  • ‘A quality, truthful portrayal of the general challenges that come with different experiences of the world, whether personal or familial.’ – Kirkus, starred review


Praise for Best Friend Next Door: “[Mackler] gives a spot-on portrayal of the ups and downs of young friendships.” – Kirkus Reviews

“[Mackler] insightfully portrays the complexities of friendship and adapting tochange… An engaging, supportive read.” – Booklist

“Charming.” – School Library Journal About the Author

Carolyn Mackler is the author of the popular teen novels, The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things (A Michael L. Printz Honor Book); Tangled; Guyaholic; Vegan Virgin Valentine; and Love and Other Four-Letter Words. Carolyn’s most recent novel, The Future of Us, cowritten with bestselling author Jay Asher, has received starred reviews, and the film rights have been sold to Warner Brothers. Best Friend Next Door is her first novel for a younger audience.

Our August 2021 Ages 11+ Book of the Month

For our 11+ Book of the Month this August I have chosen Not If I Can Help It by Carolyn Mackler. 11-year-old Willa is like any child her age; she is obsessed with LEGO, frozen yoghurt and of course, dogs. Willa also has Sensory Processing Disorder – meaning she doesn’t like the feel of certain clothes, textures of foods, and most of all, she HATES change. So when Willa’s dad reveals that he has been dating her best friend Ruby’s mum, and they’re now moving in together, that’s a LOT of change.

This book touches on crucial and important topics every child will relate to – such as anxiety, concerns about starting a new school and difficulties within friendships. It also approaches Sensory Processing Disorder sensitively and accurately – Mackler’s son also has SPD so she writes an authentic portrayal of what living with the condition is like for her protagonist. This endearing novel is a brilliant way to introduce children to a condition they may otherwise be unaware of, encourage empathy and looking out for one another. Perfect for fans of A Kind of Spark, The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh and Can You See Me?.

Su – Book Club Editor, Ages 7–11+
Su – Book Club Editor, Ages 7–11+

Product Details

Catalogue number

8065 in Schools Catalogue 2024–25







Date published

August 5th, 2021

Accelerated Reader

AR book level: 4.9; Middle years; 8.0 points

Other details

  • 240 pages



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