Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
What did you like about the book? Doreen Cronin, author of Click Clack Moo, etc, has written a powerful debut novel about friendship, sickness and health that will stay with readers for a long time. Nora is excited to ride the Cyclone at Coney Island, so excited that she bribes her cousin Riley to ride it with her even though Riley is terrified. Unfortunately, Riley has an undiagnosed heart condition and has a stroke immediately following the ride. What comes next is terrifying — a long stay in the hospital for Riley with all her family around her. While at the hospital, Nora meets Jack, who is there for his brother who has cancer. Now Nora is terrified–that her family will find out about the fight she and Riley had the night before the accident, that they will find out about the bribe….and that Riley will not ever recover. Then Nora gets a chance to participate in Riley’s recovery by helping images for Riley to point to in her Official Book of Riley (ORB). But will Riley forgive her? I loved this honest, first-person portrayal of a kid wracked with guilt over an accident. Nora’s feelings progress in a believable way throughout the book and the reader feels every emotion along with her. The book is interspersed with explanatory footnotes about hospital lingo and terminology, as well as hand-drawn images that Nora makes for Riley’s word book. Above all, the book has heart.
Anything you didn’t like about it? Nothing.
To whom would you recommend this book? Give this to students who like emotional realistic fiction. Fans of Lynda Mullaly Hunt and Dan Gemeinhart will love this one.
Who should buy this book? All schools
Where would you shelve it ? realistic fiction
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes! I loved this one and read it in one day.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Laura Gardner, Dartmouth Middle School, Dartmouth, MA
Date of review: July 26, 2017