Monday, August 13, 2018

MY DEAL WITH THE UNIVERSE by Deborah Kerbel


It was hard to return this one to the library -- I just may have to buy my own copy!


Description from the publisher:

Daisy Fisher just wants to be normal, but growing up in a house known as the “Jungle” makes that impossible. It doesn’t help when the neighbours declare your family public enemy number one. Or when your best friend leaves for camp and forgets you exist. Or when your twin brother may be getting sick again....

Just when it feels like Daisy's deal with the universe is unravelling, she finds out that love and strength can come from surprising places... and that maybe "normal" isn't all it's cracked up to be.

My Deal with the Universe, written by Deborah Kerbel, was published by Scholastic in 2018.


Why you want to read this book… 

Daisy’s take on her life drew me into the story right away. I loved how hard she tried to help her brother, her interactions with her new friend Violet and the cool vine-covered house she and her family lived in. I felt all kinds of emotions right along with Daisy as I was reading the story. This is a book I’d definitely read again.


Opening:

Let’s just get this out of the way right off the top: My name’s Daisy and yeah, I’m that girl. The one who lives in the “Jungle.”


If you’re a writer… 

What a great book to read as a mentor text for learning about voice and character! As I was reading, I felt like Daisy was a living, breathing teenager talking to me. I enjoyed thinking about the characters in this story and how word choices and phrasing bring out their personalities. Also, if you’re trying to understand what editors or agents mean when they ask for “quirky,” I’m pretty sure this is a prime example.

The thick layer of vines somehow manages to keep the rooms coolish in the summer. And warmish in the winter. Mom says the vines give our house insulation. I secretly think it’s one of the reasons why Dad let them take over. He’ll do anything to save money on the electricity bill.


If you’re a teacher…

It’s nice to read a middle grade novel where the parents are part of the story and not banished or dead. Family is important to the main character, even though she doesn’t always agree with their decisions. This story reminded me of the importance of communication between family members.

Have you ever felt like someone’s scribbled all over your insides with a fine tip Sharpie? That’s how I feel right now and I want everyone to know it, so I dress in all black from head to toe.


Looking for another good book to read this summer? Check out the offerings for Marvelous Middle Grade May over at Greg Pattridge's blog.

6 comments:

  1. Your excellent review has me putting this on the top of my must read list. And both parents are alive! Thanks for sharing this new one.

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  2. What a fascinating story! I like Daisy right away. Will add this to my TBR list. As always, I enjoy your suggestions to writers and teachers.

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  3. This book sounds great! Daisy sounds like a fun narrator. Thanks for the recommendation!

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  4. I do like both parents in the family in MG books. It is becoming more and more rare. This sound like a fun book. Thanks for telling me about it.

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