The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James by Ashley Herring Blake (Little, Brown & Company, 2019) Not quite at the same level as Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World—the conflicts are a little more forced, the resolutions more predictable—but still a highly engaging middle-grade exploration of family, friendship, first love and identity. Serious yet gently uplifting.
Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake (Little, Brown & Company, 2019) A near-perfect middle grade coming-of-age story. Blake approaches the central premise with sensitivity and does so within a wider context of family relationships. The result is a beautifully crafted book—a single-day read that will entrance readers of all ages and orientation.
Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018) ‘How can I believe either one of them? How can I not believe them?’ This he-said, she-said rape dilemma seems at first the be-all and end-all, but blossoms into a wider exploration of identity, trauma, family, friendship, and gender inequality. Beautifully told.