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Let me just say I loved this book! It has so many good things going for it, several lessons to be learned, positive messages for tweens and adults, and so well written. The story is narrated by Natalie, a middle grade student, and she recounts her life at home and at school using the Scientific Method. Sounds too Scientific, not all, a method to observe, develop and investigate a problem you want to solve, and Natalie certainly has her fill.
Natalie’s mom, a botanist, has recently retreated to her bedroom. She comes out occasionally, but what she really does well is sleep. Natalie’s dad is a therapist, and his approach is to let Natalie ask questions. Natalie thinks she has done something to cause her mom to retreat, and she wants to find a solution. Natalie has a really good friend, Twig, who picked her out the first day she came to school. They can tell each other anything, except for this time, when Natalie doesn’t want to talk. At the same time their new Science teacher, Mr Neely is teaching them the Scientific Theory, and Natalie develops a plan to help her mother and her team at school.
As we go through the steps of the Scientific Theory with Natalie we meet all her friends and much of her family. These are important relationships to investigate, and we learn via Natalie how they all relate. How many tweens and young adults have similar problems that they can relate via this book. Learning to talk it out and where help is available. Strong supportive adults thrive in this book, but we are also introduced to the subject of depression, and how it affects everyone in the family. My 12 year old grandson is now reading this book, and I am so interested in getting his take.
A book for every member of the family 12 and over.
Natalie is aware that her mother is depressed, she wants her botanist mother to be like she used to be. Her mother used to take her to the botany lab with her and talk to her about plants. She is in the seventh grade and has decided to enter the egg drop contest. The prize is $500 and she has a plan that uses the money and she thinks that would bring her old mom back. Right now, her mom stays in bed and doesn't spend any time with her.
Her dad is half Korean and he seems to be ashamed of it When Natalie learns more from her grandmother of what it means to be Korean, she thinks that her therapist dad needs to be proud of it. She is closer to her mom because, she does not liker her father playing therapist with her.
This a wonderful book for people of all ages to read. It is heart warming and interesting how Natalie tries to apply the scientific method to her problem with her mother. Younger readers will also learn about the scientific method.
5.0 out of 5 starsTackles tough subjects, very well written
Reviewed in the United States on 4 March 2018
This is a wonderful story full of lessons and love. Natalie is a middle schooler who is dealing with her mother descending into depression. She is desperate to help. Her teacher suggests she enter an egg drop contest and there is prize money for the winner. Natalie wants to use the money to take her mother to see the "miracle flower" her mother had been studying prior to her depression.
I really like that newer YA novels are taking on the tough problems that kids face now-a-days. Watching Natalie cope with her mother's illness as well as the supportive adult characters Ms. Keller introduces teaches kids that it's okay to talk about these kind of issues and can actually be therapeutic. I think this book can teach younger kids about coping mechanisms while woven into an enjoyable story.
5.0 out of 5 starsGood Story With Useful Information
Reviewed in the United States on 30 July 2018
Overall, this is an excellent book. It did not follow the typical middle school storyline where difficult situations magically work out and everything is nicely resolved in the end. Instead, it has some twists that show mental illness is not always easily corrected. There is progress followed by regress. The characters are fairly well developed and we get some insight into the main character's thinking. There are some parts that do not directly relate to the story but they do aid in character development so they were not completely out of place. The book is a quick, entertaining story well suited for late elementary or middle school students. I will have my middle school child read it.
5.0 out of 5 starsGreat book with easy to connect with situations
Reviewed in the United States on 17 January 2018
I found this book well written, and definitely a good read for people 12 and up. My niece throughly enjoyed it. It's narrated by Natalie, whose mother is a botanist who is suffering from major depression, and spends most of her time in the bedroom, sleeping. It is filled with truths, and life lessons. All to easy to relate to in our busy lives, filled with lack of motivation,and depression. Her teacher Mr. Neely asks his students to answer an Important question using science in the egg drop contest and Natalie wants to use the money to bring her parents happiness. Her mom the strength to want to love again and her father closer to his Korean heritage. After all this she realizes life is like flowers, and only need three simple things to thrive.
This is a nice little story and a very fast read. Equally delightful are the believable characters who inhabit this authentic story. There are a couple of things that I really loved about the story. First, it was interspersed with examples and explanation of the scientific process and second it took on a very serious issue of mental illness and depression in a frank way. I have read a number of polyannic children's books and I like that this one ends without some kind of miracle. This is not to say that the ending is not satisfying, in fact it is more satisfying that there is realistic growth and understanding, partially through therapy.
I would recommend this book for mid grade readers facing a similar situation. Our kids are passing it around now.
The Science of Breakable Things. Sometimes you have a story that comes along and just makes you smile. Now granted my daughter and myself are both out of the target age range for this book. However we both enjoyed it so much. It is one that stays with you. I think the target age of 8 - 12 is just right for this one. Not difficult in language or content for the younger ones and still has enough interesting things going on for the older kids. Is just a good clean story that speaks to your heart.