Friday, March 6, 2015

Review: The Question of Miracles by Elana K. Arnold

The Question of Miracles

By Elana K. Arnold

Blurb: Following the death of her best friend, Iris and her family move to Oregon for a fresh start in this middle-grade story of miracles, magic, rain, hope, and a hairless cat named Charles.

Sixth-grader Iris Abernathy hates life in Corvallis, Oregon, where her family just moved. It's always raining, and everything is so wet. Besides, nothing has felt right since Iris's best friend, Sarah, died.

When Iris meets Boris, an awkward mouth-breather with a know-it-all personality, she's not looking to make a new friend, but it beats eating lunch alone. Then she learns that Boris's very existence is a medical mystery, maybe even a miracle, and Iris starts to wonder why some people get miracles and others don't. And if one miracle is possible, can another one be too? Can she possibly communicate with Sarah again?

Genres: Juvenile Realistic Fiction

Publication Date: February 3, 2015

Pages: 240

My Rating: 4.5 stars

Wow. This may have been one of the best middle grade books I have read in the past couple of months. So many MG books tend to get 'watered down', but this one didn't, while still being something that kids could like...and teens...and adults.

I've not come across a heroine like Iris in quite a long time. She is young, a bit naive, but she's also very wise. Her grief for her friend Sarah, who she basically saw die, doesn't feel like a cheap ploy for feels realistic and raw.

I think that is what I loved about this book; despite being undeniably sad and raw, The Question of Miracles never felt overly angsty. So many books these days paint grief as being angry and lost and confused and generally pissed off at anyone and everyone--and it can be, but this isn't how it is for everyone. This book didn't take that route, and I applaud the author for doing that.

Still, you just can't help but get a lump in your throat as Iris tries to communicate with her friend Sarah. She's convinced herself that Sarah is a ghost; that she didn't really die. She tries a myriad of ways to contact her friend, but nothing works. It's heartbreaking.

Boris...oh Boris. What a loveable little dork that kid was. He's kind, a bit funny (though it isn't always intentional) and he's a total geek when it comes to Magic. I loved him.

Boris' backstory is really interesting, and it brings up the question; do miracles exist? Why do only some people get miracles? This book asks some really philosophical questions, and it does it in a tasteful way.

The writing in this book was so perfect. So often, middle grade books seem overly simplistic in their tone and its one of my pet peeves. You can make writing in kid's book easy to understand without it being babyish; this book is a prime example of that. It does it so well, and I'm really impressed.

Another little personal perk for me...Iris is a cat person, and her cat's a lil cutie. (I love cats. Dogs too, but cats don't get as much positive representation, so I'm always happy when kitties are mentioned in books. Don't judge me.)

If you like middle grade books that aren't afraid to get deep and are incredibly well written, (and who wouldn't want that?) this is a book worth reading. I am getting teary eyed just writing this review, it was that good. Don't believe me? Try it for yourself.


  1. Great to see a MG book that isn't afraid of being deep and asking some pretty thought provoking questions. Great review Gabs!

    1. It definitely was refreshing. I wasn't expecting it to be as deep as it was, but it totally surprised me. Thanks Jeann!


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