The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James by Ashley Herring Blake
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Published: March 26th, 2019
Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR
Recommended Age: 8+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, LGBTQIA+, Family Dynamics, Friendship, Love
I have read and enjoyed everything else Ashley Herring Blake has written so of course I was beyond excited to dive into this copy. I am also so very happy this author is exploring LGBTQIA+ themes because her stories are realistic and important.
This one in particular follows Sunny St. James, whose mom left her in the arms of her best friend Kate eight years ago. She hasn’t seen her mom for that long, but this summer everything is different: new heart, new friend, new crush, new… mom?
While I somewhat prefer Blake’s young adult titles, since I connect better with the characters and enjoy the more mature scenes featured, I thought this one was wonderful. Sunny is someone you will immediately adore and it’s impossible not to sympathize with her situation unless, you know, YOU DON’T HAVE A HEART. In which case move along because you don’t deserve this book.
That was brutal, man. I just feel so protective of Sunny. I love her. It’s not that I see myself in her, since we’re pretty different people, but she’s so confused and I most certainly understand what it’s like to NOT KNOW. If you like the right person. If you trust the right person. If this is who you are or who you think people want you to be. And I’m not even referring to her sexual orientation at the moment (although that’s an important topic as well).
I admit it’s a bit long for my tastes, which is a tiny problem I had with her previous middle grade title if I remember correctly. This is interesting because her young adult titles don’t feel as though they drag. But in this case there are certain things that Sunny takes time to comprehend whereas the reader does immediately or quickly, such as her new friend’s preferences or her mom’s secret. That can be annoying at times and make you want to move things along. But, all in all, this was very beautiful and a story I am proud has been written and published.
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