The Weight of Everything

  • Interest Level: Grade 7 - Grade 12
  • Reading Level: Grade 7

It’s been six months since Sarah’s mom died. Three months since her dad fell apart. Sarah has left her fine arts boarding school to take care of her dad and her little brother, and now she’s trying to hold everything together at home while adjusting to the local public high school.

With her dad’s drinking and spending getting out of control, Sarah struggles to make sure that the bills are paid, that her brother is fed and safe, that her dad’s grief won’t crush them all. She has no time for art, unless she’s cranking out a piece to sell online for some grocery money. And she definitely doesn’t have the time or the emotional energy to find out if her sweet, handsome classmate, David Garza, could be more than a friend.

But then a school project prompts Sarah to delve into her mom’s Mexican and Guatemalan roots. As she learns more about this side of her heritage, Sarah starts to understand her mom better—and starts to face her own grief. When she stumbles upon a long-buried piece of history that mattered deeply to her mom, Sarah realizes she can’t carry her pain silently anymore. She has to speak up, and she can’t do it alone.

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Interest Level Grade 7 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 7
Genre Young Adult
Category Diverse Books: Mental Health & Neurodiversity, Diverse Books: Race & Ethnicity, Diversity, SEL: A Self-Awareness, SEL: B Self-Management, SEL: C Social Awareness, SEL: D Relationship Skills, SEL: E Responsible Decision-Making, Social Emotional Learning
Copyright 2023
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Carolrhoda Lab ®
Language English
Number of Pages 240
Publication Date 2023-05-02
Text Type Fiction
BISACS YAF058050, YAF011000, YAF052020
Dewey [Fic]
Dimensions 5.5 x 8.25
Features Author/Illustrator biography, Awards, Reviewed, Teaching Guides, and eSource

Author: Marcia Argueta Mickelson

Marcia Argueta Mickelson was born in Guatemala and immigrated to the United States as an infant. She attended high school in New Jersey and then graduated from Brigham Young University with a BA in American Studies. She is the author of five novels including Star Shining Brightly, The Huaca, and Where I Belong, and she is a winner of the Pura Belpré Young Adult Author Honor. She lives in Texas with her husband and three sons.

Lerner eSource™ offers free digital teaching and learning resources, including Common Core State Standards (CCSS) teaching guides. These guides, created by classroom teachers, offer short lessons and writing exercises that give students specific instruction and practice using Common Core skills and strategies. Lerner eSource also provides additional resources including online activities, downloadable/printable graphic organizers, and additional educational materials that would also support Common Core instruction. Download, share, pin, print, and save as many of these free resources as you like!

The Weight of Everything

It’s been six months since Sarah’s mom died. Three months since her dad fell apart. Sarah has left her fine arts boarding school to take care of her dad and her little brother, and now she’s trying to hold everything together at home while adjusting to the local public high… View available downloads →

The Weight of Everything: An Interview with Author Marcia Argueta Mickelson

The new YA novel The Weight of Everything strikes the perfect balance between grief, romance, and self-exploration through the eyes of one girl’s personal experience. Six months ago, Sarah’s beloved mother died in a car accident. Her dad fell apart, and Sarah had to leave her fine arts… View →

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  • TAYSHAS Reading List, Winner, 2024


School Library Journal

“An honest and heartrending look at grief and loss, and at the often-unspoken weight teens must carry in silence.”—School Library Journal

Publishers Weekly

“Through Sarah’s tentative steps toward healing, Mickelson (Where I Belong) attentively showcases the mending power of tenderness, patience, and love in this moving read. Ages 12–up. (May)“—Publishers Weekly

Kirkus Reviews

[L]ovingly conveys the pivotal role older siblings can play after a parent’s death and weaves in Sarah’s new interest in Guatemalan history and social activism in an organic manner. A thoughtful and substantive story about loss, cultural discovery, and first love."—Kirkus Reviews

Francisco X. Stork

“A beautifully told, breathtaking story.”—Francisco Stork, author of On the Hook

Rebecca Balcárcel

“Prepare to be captivated by strong, resourceful, artistic Sarah as she holds her family together after tragedy. Written with clarity and insight, this book is driven by devotion to family, tender romance, and Sarah’s determination to use her artistic talent to right a wrong. A must-read for anyone who loves to cheer for a brave young woman!”—Rebecca Balcárcel, Pura Belpré Honor winning author of The Other Half of Happy

Crystal Maldonado

“A poignant, raw, and emotional story of grief, loss, and the courage it takes to fight for our beliefs—and ourselves.”—Crystal Maldonado, author of Fat Chance, Charlie Vega and No Filter and Other Lies