Haven Jacobs is a 7th grade girl whose emotions are out of control over one topic: climate change. It’s effecting her mental health along with falling grades, sleep, and friendships. She wonders why adults aren’t doing anything about the crisis we face in the world.

A science fair project brings her closer to the environmental damage on display in her town. A class study of the local Belmont River shows it has changed tremendously in the past three years. There are no longer any frogs and chemical imbalances are occurring.

She wonders if the source of the problem is a new factory in the area. It’s not easy to accuse when she has no solid proof. It’s even trickier because her dad works for the factory and a classmate is the son of the owner. But she must do something.

Fortunately she has a supportive family with both parents and an older brother who she is beginning to see as more of an ally than an enemy. There is plenty of friend drama and the route Haven takes to save the planet is perfect and believable.

I’ve really enjoyed Barbara Dee’s novels and HAVEN JACOBS SAVES THE PLANET is no exception.

BOOK BIRTHDAY: September 27, 2022 PAGE COUNT: 304


  1. The dialogue pieces shine and are true to the voice of middle grade kids these days.
  2. The labeling of “eco-anxiety” about climate change is real and I’ve witnessed many tweens and teens battling the same feelings. It was encouraging that Haven’s parents had her talk to a therapist who helped Haven move forward and feel like she was doing something positive to elicit change.
  3. Haven doesn’t really save the planet but provides inspiration for others to take charge in their own communities. The novel will also serve as a springboard for kids to decide what they can do.
  4. Sister and brother relationships are often negative in the teen years but slowly change. It was heartwarming how Carter and Haven began to see themselves as friends.
  5. Yes, climate change is real and seeing more books about this topic are an encouraging sign. Haven Jacobs serves as a positive start for saving the world we know. I’ll be sharing more MG titles about our climate crisis in the coming weeks.


Barbara Dee is the author of eleven middle grade novels published by Simon & Schuster, including MY LIFE IN THE FISH TANK (2020), MAYBE HE JUST LIKES YOU (2019), EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT YOU (2018), HALFWAY NORMAL (2017) and STAR-CROSSED (2017). Her books have earned several starred reviews and have been named to many best-of lists, including the Washington Post’s Best Children’s Books, the ALA Notable Children’s Books, the ALA Rise: A Feminist Book Project List, the ALA Rainbow List Top Ten, the NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, the Bank Street Best Children’s Books, and Project Lit. Barbara lives with her family, their sweet rescue dog Ripley, and naughty cat Luna, in Westchester County, NY.

Barbara Dee’s web site


Be sure to visit the other Marvelous Middle Grade Posts and Comments about my post are welcome below…

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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  1. Andrea Mack says:

    Great to see your thoughts on this one too! I do think I’ll be looking for more MG about the climate from different perspectives.

  2. Glad you liked this one. I’ve been seeing it around. It sounds like a fantastic story perfect given all the environmental challenges we face now.

  3. carolbaldwin says:

    I love the MC’s name. What a great choice! Thanks for featuring this book and for all you do to make MMGM a place to go for good MG Lit.

  4. carolbaldwin says:

    I liked the MC’s name. What a great choice. Thanks for reviewing this book and all of the other great reads on MMGM!

  5. Brenda says:

    Sadly, haven’t read much Barbara Dee, why I don’t know. Going to rectify that though, this title sounds like a wonderful story.

  6. It is refreshing to see “eco-anxiety” addressed. I love all of the books available to kids about climate change, yet wonder about how they process it all. Taking action helps, but there are kids who really worry about their future — something we didn’t experience as children and teens. And I’ve heard interviews from kids imploring adults to take action now — it shouldn’t be their problem. I will look for this book. And, I’m sharing a PB on Friday about wildfires.

  7. As always, great minds! Dee’s work is very popular in my library, and I’m glad to see anything that addresses environmental issues.

  8. I think this story about the pollution and the complications over her dad’s job sound great, and Haven seems a wonderful character. I agree though that we shouldn’t let our kids feel so terrified or that they have to take on this burden, so it’s a timely book! Thanks for the review!

  9. I love to see books that take on climate change as central to the story. This looks like a really great book not just for that but for the relationship angle. I will look for this one. Thanks for the review.

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