THE MIGHTY HEART OF SUNNY ST. JAMES by Ashley Herring Blake
Kirkus Star

THE MIGHTY HEART OF SUNNY ST. JAMES

Age Range: 8 - 13
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Sunny St. James has just had a heart transplant and is ready to take three crucial steps into her New Life.

Step No. 1: Do “awesome amazing things” her cardiomyopathy kept her from doing. Step No. 2: “Find a new best friend” to replace Margot, who betrayed her trust. Step No. 3: “Find a boy” to kiss, “because kisses.” Sunny achieves the first two steps almost simultaneously: She goes swimming in the ocean for the first time since her diagnosis and she meets blue-haired Quinn Ríos Rivera, and the two agree to be best friends. The third proves to be difficult, because Sunny finds she doesn’t want to kiss a boy. She wants to kiss Quinn. Sunny’s struggles are numerous but well-balanced and never overwhelm readers. The 12-year-old’s mother, Lena, who gave Sunny to her best friend, Kate, to raise eight years ago, is ready to be part of Sunny’s life. Sunny isn’t sure she wants to know Lena, a recovering alcoholic. She’s also uncertain as to which feelings are hers and which ones belong to her unknown heart donor, but her thoughtful, present-tense voice as she parses these feelings is all hers. Quinn is Puerto Rican; Kate’s boyfriend is black; and Lena’s husband is South Asian. Assume whiteness for everyone else.

A sweet and gentle story of self-discovery and a beautiful addition to the growing genre of middle-grade realism featuring girls who like girls. (Fiction. 8-13)

Pub Date: March 26th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-316-51553-5
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2019




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