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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Petruck


HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL by Robin Herrera is lovely. I don’t use that word lightly because for some that translates to precious, which is not my thing and not this book. But the descriptive that keeps coming to mind when I think of this book is “lovely,” so I’m letting it ride. Robin’s novel is gentle and kind and a little brutal and true.

Remember that time when you first discovered that what you considered normal was not the norm? I remember it distinctly, in the fifth grade, and it was shocking, and for weeks afterward the world seemed to be in really sharp focus. Whether that moment was encouraging or terrifying for you, I think a lot of us were marked by it. Robin handles that new awareness and its aftereffects beautifully in HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL.

Here’s the official description: Ten-year-old Star Mackie lives in a trailer park with her flaky mom and her melancholy older sister, whom Star idolizes. Moving to a new town has made it difficult for Star to make friends, when her classmates tease her because of where she lives. But when Star discovers Emily Dickinson, she starts a poetry club and learns some important lessons about herself and her hopes for the future.

With an unforgettable voice and a lot of heart, HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL is the story of a young girl who learns to accept her family and herself while trying to make sense of the world around her.

Like all good books, HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL does a lot in a small space, but one of the elements I particularly appreciated is how Star rebels against being pigeonholed into a stereotype, yet unconsciously pigeonholes others into a stereotype, too. Because isn’t that how it works? We all have our biases, and it’s only by becoming aware of them that we overcome them. Star models the path of change so perfectly, Robin basically has renewed my hope for the world.

Also, vocabulary lists. I won’t say any more about it, but seriously, the book is worth its weight because of them (and everything else).

HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL by Robin Herrera is out March 11, 2014.

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