Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Review—The Science of Breakable Things by Tae Keller

Publisher: Random House 
Published: March 6, 2018
Genre: Middle Grade 
Source: Print ARC
Rating: 4 Stars 

An emotionally-charged new classic about the science of hope, love, and miracles! Natalie's uplifting story of using the scientific process to "save" her mother from depression is sure to take root in readers' hearts!

How do you grow a miracle? 
For the record, this is not the question Mr. Neely is looking for when he says everyone in class must answer an important question using the scientific process. But Natalie's botanist mother is suffering from depression, so this is The Question that's important to Natalie. When Mr. Neely suggests that she enter an egg drop competition, Natalie has hope. 

Eggs are breakable. Hope is not.
Natalie has a secret plan for the prize money. She's going to fly her mother to see the Cobalt Blue Orchids--flowers that survive against impossible odds. The magical flowers are sure to inspire her mother to love life again. As Natalie prepares for the competition, she will discover that talking about problems is like taking a plant out of a dark cupboard and giving it light.

An extraordinary debut about the coming-of-age moment when kids realize that parents are people, too. Think THE FOURTEENTH GOLDFISH meets THE THING ABOUT JELLYFISH.

"A compassionate glimpse of mental illness accessible to a broad audience." 
--Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

"Keller crafts a winning story full of heart and action." 

"Inspiring, emotional, and heartwarming."
--Melissa Savage, author of Lemons

“Because maybe she is doing all of those laughing, crying things on the inside, just like her beloved plants, and she only needs someone to push her out, out, out again so she can laugh and sing and wonder on the outside, with me.”

Tae Keller writes a a beautiful story that inspires and gives us great perspective on mental health. Natalie’s a character that’s realistic in her vulnerability towards school and her home life. Seemingly out of nowhere, Natalie’s mom falls into a deep depression. Leaving Natalie and her father to try and pick up all the broken pieces. 
Natalie’s found a way to try and save her mother from herself—by entering into an egg drop competition. Grand prize winner walks away with $500! With the help of her friends, Twig and Dari, we’re faced with equals parts comedic relief and scenes that show the very real disease that is depression. Seeing it from the child’s point of view? I think Keller nailed it.

I love Natalie. Like love her to pieces. She’s a character I want to follow and she’s the one I’m rooting for on the
sidelines. Seventh grade is already hard enough, then throw in a parent you feel isn’t giving you the attention you need. You get Natalie as a result—she’s very proactive and gets things done. The book also makes science seem fun. I say seem because that was my least favorite subject in school, but Keller has me intrigued. 
I recommend this for both parent and child to read together and learn about the many different ways depression can effect a person.

“There’s this joke life plays, where you’re going up, like happy bubbles floating into the sky, up and up, until all of a sudden, you’re not.”

*Thank you to the publisher for providing a copy an honest and unbiased review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Buy the book:

TAE KELLER grew up in Honolulu, where she wrote stories, ate Spam musubis, and participated in her school’s egg drop competition. (She did not win.) After graduating from Bryn Mawr College, she moved to New York City to work in publishing, and she now has a very stubborn Yorkie and a multitude of books as roommates.

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