book cover of Gut Reaction

Gut Reaction

A novel by

Critically acclaimed, bestselling author and Newbery Honor-winner, Kirby Larson, and her daughter, debut author, Quinn Wyatt, pen this gorgeously moving and often funny story that explores what living with a chronic illness is like. Inspired by Quinn's own personal journey, Gut Reaction is full of heart and humor and highlights the importance of asking for help when it comes to mental and physical health alike.

Tess Medina is still dealing with the loss of her father when she starts at a new school. One way she is still able to feel close to him is by doing what she does best: baking. He taught her everything she knows. But when tasting her creations causes a deep stabbing pain in her abdomen, she tries to power through and be strong in the same way she powers through her emotional pain. She doesn’t mind too much--she’s okay with sharing her baked goods at school in the hopes of making new friends.

Lucky for Tess, her baking skills attract the right kind of attention, and she assembles a ragtag team to help her taste her new and classic creations in preparation for the Jubilee Flour Junior Baker West Coast competition. This is a chance to redeem herself and prove that she's a star baker. Above all, Tess is desperate to win first place and make her dad proud.

But leading up to the competition, Tess's pain gets worse and worse, and, soon, she finds that she's avoiding so many foods that she's barely eating. When the physical pain becomes too great, Tess will be forced to confront everything she has been trying so desperately to hide.

From Newbery Honor author Kirby Larson and her daughter, debut author Quinn Wyatt, comes a poignant, sometimes silly, and always moving story of coming to grips with grief and finding the sweet filling inside every treat.

Genre: Children's Fiction

Praise for this book

"Great British Baking Show meets Guts by Raina Telgemeier. Entertaining and informative. Really put me inside the mind of a level-headed fourteen-year-old forced to deal with one awkward and humiliating situation after another." - Gennifer Choldenko

"Kirby Larson and Quinn Wyatt have cooked up a rich, warm story about Crohn's Disease, courage, and cookies. The voice is heartfelt and authentic, leavened with humor and, oh my frog, delicious desserts. Gut Reaction is a wonderful book about important things, and I recommend it highly." - Karen Cushman

"A multi-layered, straight-from-the-heart story written with a light, deft touch,Gut Reaction will inspire readers to pursue their creative passions. I loved this touching, sweet, and engaging book!" - Barbara Dee

"A powerful story about living with a disease and not letting it define who you are." - Alan Gratz

"Sweet and delicious! You will gobble up this book in one bite!" - Jennifer L Holm

"Gut Reaction is a much-needed and important book for everyone: those suffering with Crohn's disease, their family and friends who want to help them, and for all the rest who need to understand. Written with the voice of authenticity by a mother/daughter team who know firsthand the effects of this painful and often embarrassing disease. Toss in a handful of lovable and diverse characters and an edge-of-your-seat cooking competition and Gut Reaction is a recipe for success." - Barbara O'Connor

"Gut Reaction is a poignant, triumphant tale about living with chronic illness, overcoming loss, and reaffirming joy and self-love. Tess is funny, relatable, brave, and an awesome baker!" - Jewell Parker Rhodes

"I would have finished Gut Reaction in one swoop--but I didn't want it to end. I especially loved the baking connection, but the story's honesty, the humor and the friendships added so many layers. If the topic seems serious--and it is, the way Tess struggles to accept her illness will resonate with readers. Tess Medina is an inspiration. Her story will be one you'll remember long after that last page is turned." - Augusta Scattergood

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