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by Linda Epstein

Pub Date: July 5th, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-5344-9855-6
Publisher: Aladdin

Ask anyone in Roosevelt Cove, New York: Daisy Rubens and Ruby Affini come as a pair.

Daisy—Jewish, curly-haired, and freckled—approaches the world with caution and an analytical mind. Meanwhile Ruby—Catholic, with olive-toned skin and straight, dark hair—sees magic everywhere and isn’t afraid of anything. When Ruby dies in an accident the summer before sixth grade, Daisy finds herself bereft of wonder. With the patience and compassion of her loving parents, her whimsical Aunt Toby, and some unfamiliar faces at school and synagogue, she slowly discovers new joy in life. Each character is richly imagined, their idiosyncrasies pondered and celebrated as Daisy parses her way through a world of connections without her best friend by her side. The novel finds its title in the Jewish idea of tikkun olam, and Daisy’s journey is one of repairing herself. Depictions of Jewish life and belief—in all its contemporary formulations—ring true, but where the novel really shines is through its use of sensory and emotional details. With incredible specificity and heart, Epstein carries Daisy through her grief, demystifying the experience of tragedy for her middle-grade audience. The book reads like a field guide for surviving the unimaginable: the prose simple but clearsighted, the plot an unassuming canvas against which characters and emotions bloom.

An accessible look at grief, spirituality, and growth.

(Fiction. 8-12)