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.
PUBLICATION DATE:2014 PAGES: 272
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.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.