Twelve-year-old Calliope June must navigate 7th grade and Tourette's Syndrome with a neglectful, downright abusive mother who ping-pongs from boyfriend to boyfriend, one breakup after another, and moves Calliope from town to town whenever her mother's heart is broken (which is a lot).
When her mom cuts off her beautiful mane of long hair to keep her from twirling it and pulling out clumps at the root, I wanted to shout at Calliope to run, run, run or at least tell someone at the middle school. But it wouldn't make any difference.
Calliope is as powerless as the reader to change anything in her life, like a lot of kids her age, until, with a little help from a friend and neighbor, Jinsong, she finally accepts who and how she is and announces that she's not weird, she has Tourette's and people should just accept her for who she is.
The book is told in dual points of view. Callie's POV is in verse while regular prose is reserved for Jinsong's POV. The juxtaposition of the two POVs and formats for presenting them make for great compare / contrast writing opportunities.
On one level this book resonated with us, as we went through similar struggles with a teacher who didn't understand one of my children's eye-rolling was not disrespectful; it was entirely involuntary.
The ending was especially powerful.
It's a longer book in verse, and it's been out a while now (2017) so it has a free Discussion Guide, with eight (8) questions and mooncake activities offered by the publisher. There's also a fairly low priced Teachers Pay Teachers set of questions for the book.