Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Question of Miracles by Elana K. Arnold

Iris just moved to Oregon with her family and she hates it.  She hates their new house.  She hates the constant rain.  Nothing feels right.  But then nothing has felt right since her best friend, Sarah, died.  Iris is not interested in making friends at her new school, but then she meets Boris and learns he's a medical miracle.  And if Boris got a miracle, then why couldn't there be other miracles?  Like maybe being able to talk to Sarah again.

This was a beautifully explored story of grief.  Iris thinks Sarah's ghost is haunting her.  She wants Sarah's ghost to be haunting her.  Iris wants to talk to Sarah again so badly.  She wonders why some people get miracles and others don't.  It isn't fair.

At first, Iris doesn't especially like Boris.  He's kind of annoying.  He has terrible table manners.  He's a know-it-all and his main interest is playing Magic.  Iris sits with Boris at lunch because it's better than sitting alone.  She gets really interested when she learns that Boris should have died as a baby, but didn't. 

Boris and Iris begin doing research on miracles.  It seems like so many people have experienced something they call a miracle, why didn't Sarah?  Iris explores differently ways of trying to talk to Sarah (non of them work) and seeks out differently people to talk to to try and get some answers.

Iris' family is fully formed and present.  Her mother and father are both fully realized characters who are actively involved in Iris' life.  Her mother works, her father stays at home.  He's the one who cooks and gardens.  The book doesn't make a big deal out of this, it's just how things are, but it was great to see.

This is a quiet kind of book.  Iris is able to move more toward acceptance by the end, but it doesn't mean her questions are all answered and everything is better.  I think it's an excellent look at the grieving process without being heavy handed.  I think kids who like books like Wonder and Out of My Mind will enjoy this.  Highly recommended.

The Question of Miracles comes out February 3, 2015.

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