Fig’s life in seventh grade is perfectly normal: his Life Science teacher hates him, his dad is forcing him to attend bar mitzvah classes because his mom would have wanted it, and he has just been passed over for the travel soccer team in favor of Gus Starks, a ball hog and a bully. As if Fig’s life needed one more complication, his grandmother, Gigi, is unexpectedly coming to stay for a while with Fig and his father. But as Gigi helps Fig navigate the obstacles of seventh grade and a tough soccer season, Fig comes to understand some important things: about his religion, about his family, and about Fig himself.
Ever since Bass’s father died in Iraq, life at home has gotten tougher by the year. When a fight with his mother’s boyfriend sends fourteen-year-old Bass sailing through a sliding glass door and racing through the woods to the safety of an abandoned warehouse, Bass realizes that being “dead” might be the opportunity he needs to save himself and his family. As Bass moves from “Possum” to “Ghost” to “Angel,” Playing Possum reflects powerfully on the toll that war takes on one American family—and celebrates human resilience in the face of life’s challenges.