Marvelous Middle Grade Monday
Shannon Whitney Messenger decided it was time to give middle grade stories the attention they deserve, and "Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays" was born.
*Starred Review* For the opening of her middle-grade debut, Harrington cuts right to the heart of her narrator’s grim situation: “You’ve never met anyone like me. Unless, of course, you’ve met someone who survived her mother trying to drown her and now lives with an alcoholic father.” Sarah Nelson was 2 when that happened; now she is turning 12 in a small Texas town and “looking for any signs of going crazy.”
Don’t think this will be a hard sell to readers, though, for Harrington has created a protagonist who is, in her own way, as clear-eyed, tough-minded, and inspiring as any dystopian hero. Sarah faces down threats from all sides: “The more information I gather, the better I can defend myself against the world, against the brain inside me that may or may not be like hers.” And even as her father repeatedly fails her (as when he drank and slept through her birthday), Sarah finds allies and role models, from an English teacher to a home-from-college neighbor to Atticus Finch, who shows Sarah how to be a caring human being.
Harrington doesn’t leave out humor—she has fun with Sarah’s romantic illusions—but makes it clear that it’s Sarah’s courage and urge to communicate that will push her beyond her traumatic childhood. Grades 5-8. --Abby Nolan
My reading preferences most often veer toward the fantasy realm, largely because that is what my kids read. This book, however, is very real--wonderfully, powerfully, beautifully real. I love Sarah Nelson. I love her so much. She is a survivor, a thinker, someone all middle grade girls should meet. The fact that she spends her summer writing to Atticus Finch doesn't hurt either. :)
I can't recommend this book highly enough. It is one of the most powerful and endearing MG books I've read in a very long time. Karen Harrington is a phenomenal writer and this is a phenomenal story!
Do. Not. Miss. This. One.