Friday, March 2, 2018

ARC Review: The Science of Breakable Things by Tae Keller

The Science of Breakable Things
Author: Tae Keller
Publication: Random House Books for Young Readers (March 6, 2018)

Description: An emotionally-charged new classic about the science of hope, love, and miracles! Natalie's uplifting story of using the scientific method to "save" her mother from depression is sure to take root in readers' hearts!

How do you grow a miracle?
For the record, this is not the question Mr. Neely is looking for when he says everyone in class must answer an important question using the scientific method. But Natalie's botanist mother is suffering from depression, so this is The Question that's important to Natalie. When Mr. Neely suggests that she enter an egg drop competition, Natalie has hope.

Eggs are breakable. Hope is not.
Natalie has a secret plan for the prize money. She's going to fly her mother to see the Cobalt Blue Orchids--flowers that survive against impossible odds. The magical flowers are sure to inspire her mother to love life again. Because when parents are breakable, it's up to kids to save them, right?

An extraordinary debut about the coming-of-age moment when kids realize that parents are people, too, and that talking about problems is like taking a plant out of a dark cupboard and giving it light. Think THE FOURTEENTH GOLDFISH meets THE THING ABOUT JELLYFISH.

My Thoughts: Twelve-year-old Natalie is having a bad year. Her mom seldom leaves her room and seems to have turned into not-Mom. She is worried about her botanist mother and a little angry at her too. Luckily, she has the support of her best friend Twig who keeps school interesting with her big personality. She also has a new friend in Dari who is here from India with his parents.

Natalie has a plan to fly her mother to see the Cobalt Blue Orchids that she has been studying. They are unique plants that can suck up toxins in the soil and become a beautiful blue color. She is hoping that seeing the flower she loves will make her mother feel better and reconnect to life. But she needs money which is where the Egg Drop contest comes in. First Place has a $500 prize.

Natalie, Twig and Dari spend most of the school year working on their contraption to keep their egg from breaking. This egg drop project is what they will all be using for their year-long science project on the scientific method. Twig and Dari have come up with big questions that their research will answer but Natalie's question takes a while to develop.

Natalie has quite a year of growth and change. Since the story is told from Natalie's point of view, I was left with a number of questions. It didn't appear that her mother was receiving any kind of treatment for her depression despite the fact that her father is a therapist. It also looked to me that the changes in Natalie, i.e. daydreaming, lack of interest in school work, and failure to complete assignments, were being ignored by the school. It felt like Natalie was being left to cope on her own both at home and at school.

This was an interesting story about a child dealing with a parent's mental illness which was well-written and thought-provoking.

Favorite Quote:
But my secret thought was about how Dad had talked to Mikayla and her mom about the "situation," and I didn't know what he's said and I didn't want anybody else to know about Mom. I felt like maybe it made her look bad, and I didn't want her to look bad, especially in front of the Menzies. Maybe I was embarrassed by her. I didn't want to be.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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