My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Publication Date: September 19th, 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 8+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Friendship
Everything in Bea’s world has changed. She’s starting seventh grade newly friendless and facing big changes at home, where she is about to go from only child to big sister. Feeling alone and adrift, and like her words don’t deserve to be seen, Bea takes solace in writing haiku in invisible ink and hiding them in a secret spot.
But then something incredible happens–someone writes back. And Bea begins to connect with new friends, including a classmate obsessed with a nearby labyrinth and determined to get inside. As she decides where her next path will lead, she just might discover that her words–and herself–have found a new way to belong.
I knew I would love this book before I even turned the first page. The Truth About Twinkie Pie was wonderful—of the emotional sort—and so surprisingly creative. I had a feeling I would love this one too. And although this is only the second book I read from Kat Yeh, she’s one middle grade author I have on auto-buy.
The beauty of this novel is that it can be enjoyed by adults also. I’m reading another middle grade novel right now, and contrary to this one, there’s a youngish vibe and I can’t see myself recommending it to older readers. But The Way to Bea explores universal themes and is masterfully written.
Like, what do you do when you’ve become estranged from your best friend? Who do you turn to? How do you react? Beatrix Lee is very much into Haiku poems so she pours all of her thoughts and emotions into them. She even starts to converse anonymously with a classmate in invisible ink, sometimes sharing her poetry. This helps. But so do the new friends she makes.
I loved how the heroine found patterns in her life. How she found links between things, especially when talking about people—both kids and adults—finding it hard to approach other people. The friends she makes accept her as she is, whereas her former best friend has joined a new group that find her weird.
I’m sure it has happened to all of us, especially in middle school, where we make ‘‘friends’’ just by talking to someone and lose them just by arguing for a second. If it has never happened to you, then you’re super lucky. This is also what I mean by universal themes. We’ve all been that age once. We can all connect. Bea makes it even easy to relate to her, the lovely girl that she is.
Heart-warming. A winner.
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