Monday, July 08, 2019

Tween Book Review: The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James

By Mollie McFarland, Springville Road Regional Branch Library

The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James
Ashley Herring Blake

Twelve-year-old Sunny is going through a lot of changes. While this is true for every tween in the world, it’s especially true for Sunny. She was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy at the age of ten and her heart is gradually giving out. Thanks to an organ donor, Sunny receives a new heart after two years of suffering with the disease. She emerges from the surgery with a new lease on life. It’s easier to breathe and she’s able to run and swim and live like a normal kid again. This inspires her to make a list of all the things she will do with her brand new life.

“Step One: Do awesome amazing things I could never do before. Step Two: Find a new best friend. Step Three: Find a boy and kiss him.”

Sunny makes a new best friend right away when she meets Quinn on the beach. Quinn’s mother’s job brought them to Sunny’s small island for the summer and maybe longer. Things are really falling into place! But her plan is thrown into disarray when her estranged mother shows up, hoping to be a part of her life after eight years apart. Sunny begins to question who she really is and where she belongs when she decides to give her mother a chance. And friendship with Quinn is causing Sunny to question whether she really wants to kiss boys after all. Sunny has a lot to figure out all at once, but she manages to make the most out of her brand new life and become the new person she dreamed of, just not in the way she expected.

This book was so fun! It has all the great makings of a beach read. Sunny lives on an island and she enjoys surfing and swimming, but there is a lot more to this title than fun in the sun. This book has a lot of heart (no pun intended.) Sunny is such a relatable character and I totally get why she is struggling. She is funny, vulnerable, creative, and brave. This book offers a very welcome point of view for middle grade readers. Sunny is a tween trying to grapple with her identity in every way. While she is trying to figure out her place in her family, she is also working to understand and accept the fact that she is attracted to girls.

This is a wonderful book about growth and acceptance. Everyone from middle grade reader to grown-ups like me will find entertainment and value in this heart-warming coming of age story.

No comments:

Popular Posts