HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

18405519 It’s time to get back to more recent releases. How about one from last month? HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL, a debut by author Robin Herrera, is told from the perspective of young Star Mackie. It’s an unusual MG book that explores social class and its effect on our protagonist and her family. I was ‘hoping’ for a perfect ending – for Star, her older sister she adores, and the dad she has never met – but alas in Star’s “Trailer Trash” world it’s the best you can get. Just like a ride on the ferris wheel theme portrayed in the core of this story, hope is alive in different forms. A heartwarming first effort.


FULL PLOT (From Amazon): Ten-year-old Star Mackie lives in a trailer park with her flaky mom and her melancholy older sister, Winter, whom Star idolizes. Moving to a new town has made it difficult for Star to make friends, when her classmates tease her because of where she lives and because of her layered blue hair. But when Star starts a poetry club, she develops a love of Emily Dickinson and, through Dickinson’s poetry, learns some important lessons about herself and comes to terms with her hopes for the future.
With an unforgettable voice with a lot of heart, Hope Is a Ferris Wheel is the story of a young girl who learns to accept her family and herself while trying to make sense of the world around her.


  1. The relationship Star has with her older sister, Winter. It’s covers the bond that changes as Star learns more about her sister’s YA world, although it never crosses into that genre.
  2. I went back and re-read Star’s vocabulary assignment she has trouble turning in. They are featured throughout the book and are heart tugging to read as Star portrays her problem filled world in those sentences. Nice touch that adds meaning to the story.
  3. The poetry theme as Emily Dickinson again takes center stage in the plot of an MG book (Destiny, Rewritten is the other recent addition). Star’s attempts at a poetry club help all of the characters grow.
  4. Teachers will love all the possible themes in the story for discussion purposes (Absent father, poverty, and many more I won’t give away as spoilers), plus there is a handy study guide in the back of the book.
  5. The biases Star fights against, only to see her have many of her own. It’s the changes she goes through as she becomes aware of them. It kind of renews your hope in the world.


I wish there was a harsher word for people who didn’t live in trailer parks, something as bad as trashy, but the truth was, no one made fun of you for living in a house.

Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.


About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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12 Responses to HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

  1. I have to look for this one! It sounds like a good read.

  2. This is high on my to read list. Thanks for the review. AND—you won the draw for CHASING THE MILKY WAY. If you email me at justdeb AT debamarshall DOT com and give me your mailing address I will get it sent out to you.

  3. jennienzor says:

    I’ve heard a lot of great things about this book, especially since the author lives in my state. I especially loved the line you shared from this book, which makes me want to read it now. Star sounds like an interesting character, and I love that the author portrayed her world authentically, not necessarily with an all tied-up with a bow ending.

  4. You had me at Emily Dickinson! Love the title and the cover.

  5. PS: does WordPress not let you use Google+ to post comments? ‘Cause they’re competition or something?

  6. Susan says:

    I love E. Dickinson. It would be fun to read this at the same time as Destiny, Rewritten.

  7. This sounds wonderful! I’m adding it to my TBR list. Thanks for reviewing it.

  8. Pingback: ALSO KNOWN AS HARPER for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday | Always in the Middle

  9. Pingback: Do Dads Get a Fair Look in MG Books? | Always in the Middle

  10. Pingback: A Year of Marvelous Middle Grade Monday! Are You Kidding? | Always in the Middle

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