Hey Squinklebooks Squad, I’ve got a nice title to suggest to you today. I was very excited to read this book because it tackles a sensitive subject that MG authors often avoid, but which I think is incredibly important for young readers to be able to explore. The Question of Miracles is the story of Iris who moves to Corvallis, Oregon, after the accidental death of her best friend, Sarah. Having lived in California her whole life, Iris finds that the omnipresent rainy weather in Corvallis is just one of the many unfortunate things she has to get used to in her new life. A cast of characters accompanies her on her journey of discovery and recovery, including Boris (a Magic-loving classmate), Charles (an ugly-looking but ever-faithful hairless cat), and adult folk in the form of her parents, Boris’ mom, and Dr. Shannon. With this support system by her side, Iris learns that it really isn’t about whether it’s going to rain or not in Oregon (‘cause it probably will rain), but what kind of rain it’s going to be … and whether you plan on meeting this rain with an umbrella in hand or with a smile on your face.
What I Liked About This Story
First – Not enough authors deal with the topic of death for a younger audience, so I’m always happy to know a title exists that may someday help a young person explore and survive the murky waters of mortality.
Second – Of the many religions and faiths out there, Catholicism seems to be at once very popular and highly criticized. Arnold could’ve appeased everyone by looking at death through all religious levels, but I’m glad she stuck with one. Also, she handles the challenge of questioning a religion with respect and honesty. Through Iris questions, kids of all religious backgrounds can also think critically about the topic of death and miracles.
Third – I like that Iris and Boris won’t necessarily fall in love if a sequel is planned. Yes, this is an MG novel, but I’m still glad that it’s okay for a girl and a boy to be “just friends”. In fact, I really like the honesty between the pair. It kind of reminds me of the flashbacks of Doctor Who’s Amy and Rory Williams as children. Simple and sweet.
Fourth – It was great to read about Iris’ frustration with other people, especially the adults around her, who keep trying to get her to share her thoughts and feelings about Sarah. Adults forget too often that silence can be just as precious as communication, and that not talking about something doesn’t mean you need help. Arnold’s decision to showcase this situation was spot on for me.
What Could’ve Been Better
First – The ending left me wanting. It wasn’t necessarily bad, but it did feel anti-climactic. I think I was just expecting … more …
Second – I read the ARC version of this book, so I’m not sure what the final copy looks like. I think images really add to a story, and with so many wonderful and different things we are introduced to, it would be great to see them in the chapters. I want to know what Magic cards, Charles, Iris’ dad’s veggie garden, the incubator, and the homestead look like.
If you’ve ever wondered how other kids view death and miracles, you might like this book! It’s definitely a title to keep in mind.
Thank you, HMH Books for Young Readers, for sending me a copy of
The Question of Miracles. All opinions and suggestions expressed herein are entirely my own; I received no compensation for them.