Sierra’s mom is once again struggling with her addiction to drugs, alcohol, and poorly chosen men while her father is serving jail time for similar vices. Placed in the foster care system, Sierra moves in with a kind, mysteriously heartbroken interracial couple next door to Lauren, a tween fraught with compassion and her rapidly changing family dynamics. Lauren’s autistic brother has just moved to NC in hopes that a specialized school will better meet his needs. No longer a shadow or crutch, Lauren must determine who she is as well as how to function in an unfair world full of homelessness and privilege. As these two characters navigate their friendship through typical school drama, Lauren begins to lose control and fall into emotional instability, seeking solace in shoplifting and stealing her wealthier friends’ and families’ extravagances. Even with somewhat innately good intentions—hoping to sell these items to donate money for autistic children who cannot afford better therapy—Lauren frustratingly self-destructs in her own desire to escape the pain of her brother growing up without her.
Written by two impressive authors, Every Shiny Thing is a middle grade novel carefully constructed with alternating viewpoints. Sierra’s story is told in verse, emphasizing her kaleidoscope-like, emotional world while Lauren’s chaotic emotions and thought stream are portrayed in longer sentenced prose. A modern narrative with nontraditional families, coming of age questions, and how to find a place in a less than fair society, Jensen and Morrison create a strong realistic fiction story that tweens can relate with and look to for inspiration in a less than perfect world.
I would like to thank NetGalley and Amulet Books/ABRAMS kids for providing me with a free ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. Every Shiny Thing will hit bookshelves April 17, 2018.
Every Shiny Thing by Cordelia Jensen and Laurie Morrison [Amulet Books 2018]
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