WELCOME TO ANOTHER MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY!
The death of a family member is never easy, especially for someone like the always happy main character, Wunder. He isn’t sure how to deal with a death of his baby sister. The subject is dealt with in a unique way in this debut, and it comes off beautifully.
THE BACKGROUND (From Macmillan/Farrar Strauss Giroux Books)
Eleven-year-old Wunder Ellis is a miracologist. In a journal he calls The Miraculous, he records stories of the inexplicable and the extraordinary. And he believes every single one. But then his newborn sister dies, at only eight days old. If that can happen, then miracles can’t exist. So Wunder gets rid of The Miraculous. He stops believing.
Then he meets Faye―a cape-wearing, outspoken girl with losses of her own. Together, they find an abandoned house by the cemetery and a mysterious old woman who just might be a witch. The old woman asks for their help. She asks them to go through graveyards and forests, to townhalls and police stations, by bicycle and by train. She asks them to believe. And so they begin a journey that leads to friendship, to adventure, to healing―and to miracles.
The third person narration unfolds in 48 chapters. Wunder’s parents face the tragedy in their own way, leaving little room for the emotional support their son desperately needs. Mom is locked up in her bedroom most of the time and Dad’s work hours have increased. This leaves Wunder to discover the connection to death with the overbearing help of a sort of new friend and an old lady at the cemetery.
The results are compassionate and therapeutic, almost sure to heal those dealing with a death. The setting and cast of characters make sure of that. But of course it’s the story line—part adventure-part mystery—that will leave you thankful you got to spend time with the miracle known as THE MIRACULOUS.
FIVE MORE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT
THE MIRACULOUS by Jess Redman
- The emotions and feelings are so true in this story. They are inspirational and raw, always well stated.
- Wunder is one of the more complicated main characters ever featured in an MG book and readers are the beneficiaries.
- Humor also makes its way into the tale, mostly thanks to the interactions Wunder has with Faye, the girl who wants answers.
- The importance of community when dealing with grief shines throughout.
- The adventure part of the story when the kids take a train trip to steal a tree came at the perfect time in the plot.
Wunder hadn’t understood before why his mother was so opposed to the funeral, why she had sent her parents and her sister home, why she had refused to speak to visitors, why she had shut herself in her room. But after last night, he understood. Because now he felt the same way.
He didn’t want to listen to anyone read verses or pray or talk about how his sister was in a better place. He didn’t want to see the casket or the grave. He was glad no one else had been invited. He didn’t want to be there at all.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
At age six, Jess Redman published a poem in a local anthology. The first line was, “I read and read and read all day.” She knew then, reading her printed words in a real book, that she wanted to be an author when she grew up.
She spent the next couple of decades doing things like surviving middle school, traveling around the world, becoming a therapist, and having two kids. She wrote the whole time.
Then one day, she realized that she was probably an official grown up and it was time to try to get some more of her words printed in real books.
Her debut middle-grade novel, The Miraculous, was published by FSG/Macmillan on July 30, 2019. Her second middle-grade novel, QUINTESSENCE, will be out on May 19, 2020.
She still reads and reads and reads all day. (For more visit Jess’s author website)
The winner of my giveaway of DOG DRIVEN is Beth Mitchell. You can find her great book reviews over at Imaginary Friends. Congratulations BETH!