Publisher: Owlkids, March, 2022
A middle-grade novel thoughtfully explores the realities of parents’ divorce.
Twelve-year-old Justine’s parents are recently divorced. She and her little sister, Bea, go back and forth between their parents’ homes in Montreal. Their mother, whose anxiety manifests as the need to control, believes that their father and beloved half-sister are a bad influence on Justine and Bea. So, she enlists Justine in collecting evidence that would lead to getting sole custody.
Justine accepts her mother’s view of her father at first and begins writing detailed notes about his behavior: He doesn’t stick to Bea’s strict bedtime. He’s late dropping them off at school. He makes sandwiches with white bread. But when Justine crafts an outright lie for her mother’s court case, she starts to question her mother’s behavior, and her own.
This thoughtful, supportive look at parental alienation and its impact on children tenderly balances this difficult topic with moments of joy, love, and connection. Throughout the book, Justine’s clever, unique voice guides readers as she navigates complicated family dynamics and summons the courage to tell the truth, no matter the consequences.
"Polak offers carefully nonjudgmental portraits of both parents as flawed in different ways (and profoundly incompatible) but loving ... frank, supportive, and properly free of easy answers." ― Kirkus Reviews
"Montreal author and journalist Monique Polak’s latest contemporary novel is a thoughtful exploration of complex family dynamics. Twelve-year-old Justine is caught in the messy fallout from her parents’ acrimonious divorce and is used as a pawn in a custody battle. Back matter includes resources for readers who are experiencing parental alienation." -- Quill and Quire
"For the Record is a great read to help understand what children experience in a tough custody battle -- either recognizing a character facing a similar situation or gaining understanding and compassion for others experiencing it" -- Canadian Children's Booknews