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Bea is one of the sweetest and most realistic protagonists I've seen in dramatic children's fiction. As she herself says, she's wears her heart on her sleeve. She's sweet, she's forgetful, she's a big worrier, she's not afraid to punch someone if they deserve it, she's as real as a child can be. You realise that underneath her brave and brash exterior lies an insecure child looking for reassurance and stability. After Auggie (Wonder) and Genesis (Genesis Begins Again), Bea becomes the third fictional child whom I want to give one tight hug.
The book isn't worth reading just for Bea though. All the supporting characters are memorable and loveable. Well, all except one but I can't tell you who. 😉 Friends, families, teachers, therapists, all are depicted as realistically as possible.
The book brings out the importance of family, trust, communication, support, and acceptance. One of the lines in the book effectively conveys what the purpose of family is: to provide "the kind of love that doesn’t ask you to be anyone but who you are."
Heartily recommended to all middle graders. If you are a crier, keep a box of tissues handy.
I received a free copy of this book and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
This book gets a well deserved 5 star rating. It is a Cadillac among upper elementary to middle school novels. It explores the world of a young girl named Bea. Many things are changing in her life but Bea keeps a journal of things that will not change. Included in the list is the fact that her mom and dad will always love her. This is despite the divorce and revelations surrounding her dad. As the story unfolds, Bea deals with changes in her family dynamics, school life, and physical health as well as a secret she hides in her heart for too long. The author deals with multiple issues with honesty, integrity and just an incredible amount of realism and love. This story shines as truthful and pure. Another winner from this great author.
I gave this book to the parent-daughter book club I run and two of the kids read it twice in one week. I was late getting to it before our next meet up, started it on a Thursday evening, finished it by Friday morning and have zero regrets about staying up so late, and getting up so early to finish it. In fact, I think I can actually read it again before we meet on Monday. It is delightful and lovely - a treasure. A very natural story with characters so real I was surprised they weren’t in the room with me. Read this book and you’ll make new friends.
As an adult I read this book in one day and I cannot wait to share it with a tween I love. This book provides excellent ways to talk about anxiety and does not shy away from asking the big questions that children have (that other books gloss over). I love this book and I hope you and your family do as well.
I bought this book for my daughter, age 11. Since the plot somewhat mirrors events in our family I read it before giving it to her. What a wonderful, approachable story it was. The characters all have depth and it addresses some really difficult life issues perfectly for the “tween” age group. My daughter is halfway through the book now and really enjoying it. We will be looking for other books by Rebecca Stead!