Welcome to Marvelous Middle Grade Monday!

A science loving girl and her diabetes stricken cat, bring new meaning to friendship and family in this debut. Mira is 12-years-old and the summer before seventh grade is going downhill quick. Her beloved cat, Fig Newton, is sick and she’ll need thousands of dollars for the treatment. Despite her parents wishes to give the cat away, Mira is going to somehow earn that money and make Fig well once again.

Set in Florida, it’s a lonely time as Mira’s always best friend Thomas has moved far away to Washington D.C. She soon realizes long distance friendships are not easy as Thomas finds a new friend and communication with Mira lessens as the weeks pass.

Making things worse—not only is her cat sick, but Dad is unemployed and money is tight. Mira also discovers her nemesis, a girl who always beats her in the yearly science competition has moved into Thomas’s house down the street. A house where she spent many hours having fun with what seems like her now former best friend.

Mira puts her Einstein loving mind to work and experiment ways to make her cat and family feel better along with trying to understand herself. Along the way she picks up her own new unlikely friend, has many questions about the existence of God, and sees her future in a whole new way.

The first person narration stretches over 38 chapters. It’s a heartfelt look at what is often most important in a young person’s world: Family, pets, and friends. The length of this contemporary story will be a bit too long for many 8-12 year olds (over 350 pages!), but avid readers will be find it to be a good escape.


  1. The story is packed with interesting scientific facts and names of famous scientists. You might be motivated to research these careers and findings after you finish this book.
  2. Girls rejoice! You don’t have to feel alone if you are a science loving kid. Mira is destined for a career as a scientists and/or astronaut. A great role model for those STEM based careers.
  3. Sometimes first impressions of a situation or another person are not what they seem as Mira discovers. A perfect lesson for those facing similar circumstances.
  4. Mira is biracial but it is not the focus of the story. She’s just a strong. persistent girl searching for answers.
  5. One of Mira’s experiments is on the effects of music changing a person’s moods. You might be reaching for your own song after reading this one.


SONJA THOMAS (she/her) writes stories for readers of all ages, often featuring brave, everyday girls doing extraordinary things. Raised in Central Florida—home of the wonderful world of Disney, humidity, and hurricanes—and a Washington, DC transplant for 11 years (go Nats!), she’s now “keeping it weird” in the Pacific Northwest.

Ruled by coffee & cats, a few of her favorite things are

  • dancing to music blasting in the living room 
  • traveling to new places and buying a magnet before leaving
  • snuggling with her furry friend, Gabbie Lu (just don’t let her roommate’s 3 other cats know!)

She’s a contributing author for Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Real-Life Tales of Black Girl MagicSir Fig Newton and the Science of Persistence is her debut middle grade novel.

For more about Sonja, visit her author web site.


Comments are welcome below!

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
This entry was posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews, New Release and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. This book is already on my TBR. Mira sounds a great character, and I love the fact that she is determined to help her cat get better. Thanks for the review!

  2. Andrea Mack says:

    This sounds great!! Caring for pets is so much a part of life for some kids, it’s nice to see a story about it. And STEM connections!

  3. This sounds like a fantastic book. It’s been on my TBR list since I had Sonja on my blog. My daughter would have loved this book as a kid.

  4. Danielle Hammelef says:

    I’m excited to read this book. The premise sounds amazing.

  5. Of course, I would have liked this a lot more if she had had a dog instead of a cat. I have a harness for Pongo to ride in a modified baby carriet, but growing up I put my dog in a bike basket just like this. She never jumped out! Thanks for the great review, and for hosting #MMGM.

  6. What a great book for kids who love science, pets and a good story! Can’t believe the story is 350 pages — when I first saw the cover in my Reader, I thought it was a PB. Great review. We need more stories lies this!

  7. I was luck enough to win a copy of this book from Literary Rambles and it just came, so this review could not be more timely! I’m excited to pull it off my bedside tower and dig in.

  8. carolbaldwin says:

    This really looks good. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Friends, family, and pets — a perfect trifecta for middle grade. This sounds like a great book with the STEM thrown in. I’ll put it on my list. Thanks for the review.

  10. Love a good book about persistence! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one.

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