CALEB and KIT For Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Cystic Fibrosis.

The name even sounds scary. I knew the disease was progressive and causes difficulty in breathing and in other organs. According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Patient Registry, in the United States:

  • More than 30,000 people are living with cystic fibrosis (more than 70,000 worldwide).
  • Approximately 1,000 new cases of CF are diagnosed each year.
  • More than 75 percent of people with CF are diagnosed by age 2.
  • More than half of the CF population is age 18 or older.

What I didn’t know was the challenges it brings to both the person with CF and their family and friends… until after reading CALEB and KIT.

Twelve-year-old Caleb narrates the story and his daily routine living with the disease. It’s honest, gut wrenching at times, but oh so necessary.

His parents are divorced and he lives with Mom and a perfect older  brother he despises for always being the star in the family. His Dad spends most of the story saying the wrong things. Caleb meets Kit and he enters an exciting time in his life, one filled with adventure and new fairy tale type ways of looking at the future. His new motto is do what he wants  and his behavior around others suffers. He speaks his mind when he shouldn’t, sneaks out to see Kit, and his obnoxious persona is affecting the entire family.

It all comes crashing down in a satisfying conclusion. Thank goodness for Beth Vrabel who shines a light on a child and his family’s experiences of living with cystic fibrosis.


FULL PLOT (From AMAZON)  Twelve-year-old Caleb is shorter, frailer, and more protected than most kids his age. That’s because he has cystic fibrosis, a diagnosis meaning lungs that fill with mucus and a shortened lifespan. Caleb tries not to let his disorder define him, but it can be hard with an overprotective mom and a perfect big brother.

Then Caleb meets Kit–a vibrant, independent, and free girl–and his world changes instantly. Kit reads Caleb’s palm and tells him they are destined to become friends. She calls birds down from the sky and turns every day into an adventure. Her magic is contagious, making Caleb question the rules and order in his life. But being Kit’s friend means embracing deception and danger, and soon Caleb will have to decide if his friendship with Kit is really what’s best for him–or her.


  1. You not only get a better understanding of Caleb’s behavior, but also his dad and brother by the time the last page arrives.
  2. Cystic fibrosis serves only as a backdrop to a story of friendship, a divided family, and feeling connected.
  3. Shelly is a secondary character who is Caleb’s nemesis, but also comes out with her own way of seeing things. She comes full circle as a character with growth and understanding.
  4. Kit could easily have an entire book devoted to her. Her unusual way of approaching life and the secrets she keeps from others had me anxious to see how her character changed by the end.
  5. I know I’ve read a good story when I’m still thinking about it a week after finishing.

Each step I took made my shoes suck deeper into mud with a squelching sound, and each time it made my chest hurt. A few more yards in and I realized I was in trouble. My chest burned. I tried to ignore it. The pain twisted and coiled around my ribs—not like I couldn’t breathe but like my body didn’t want to. Like I was drowning from the inside out. I tried not to think about how fast my heart was beating and only that totally freaking out was useless. I tried not to croak out a cry or anything babyish like that. This wasn’t my first panic attack; I knew I wasn’t really dying. But every time it happened, I had to convince myself all over again. And the attacks had been happening more and more.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (From Goodreads)

Beth Vrabel is an award-winning author of books for middle grade readers.
But she can’t clap to the beat nor be trusted near Nutella. Beth lives in Texas with her family and spoiled-rotten puppy, Jasper the Dog. She’s author of the PACK OF DORKS series, A BLIND GUIDE TO STINKVILLE and A BLIND GUIDE TO NORMAL. Her next release, CALEB AND KIT, hits bookshelves in September 2017.


Oh…one more thing… The winner of THINGS THAT SURPRISE ME is Danielle Hammelef. CONGRATULATIONS!!


Make a comment if you have time. I enjoy reading all of them. Click on the comments link below.

Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.



About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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10 Responses to CALEB and KIT For Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

  1. Living with my husband who struggled with lung problems and whose lungs looked like cystic fibrosis, I can imagine how Caleb feels. Sounds like a great story with the health and family issues and relationship with Kit.

  2. Oh, I really like this story. I have reviewed a few books about youth with cystic fibrosis and like this book, the disease is the backdrop. We need more books like this one and I’m going to check it out.

  3. Sue Kooky says:

    This sounds so touching! Oh my gosh. I’m glad there’s some character development with the family and Kit too! It sounds like a book I would enjoy. Thank you for reviewing!

  4. I have a good friend (and writer) who has CF, and that has really been an eye-opener for me. So happy to hear this book did a great job not only showing what the disease is like, but what people with it might be like, too!

  5. I hadn’t heard of this book, so thanks for telling us about it. Any book that you’re still thinking about a week later is definitely worth the read.

  6. I really have to read this book. I had a home/hospital student who had CF and it was heartbreaking. This books sounds important and interesting. And that cover! Love it. Thanks for the review.

  7. Danielle Hammelef says:

    This book was already on my TBR. I love that it was so powerful that you still think about it. Those are my favorite books.

  8. Susan says:

    Glad a story is highlighting this terrible disease. The friendship in this book sounds interesting.

  9. Thank you for introducing me to this story. My nephew passed away 4 years ago because of complications from Cystic Fibrosis. I’m happy to see a MG story with a main character living with Cystic Fibrosis.

  10. Pingback: MY CYBILS PICKS FOR MIDDLE GRADE FICTION | Always in the Middle…

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