Saturday, April 27, 2013

37 Things I Love (in no particular order) by Kekla Magoon

37 Things I Love, Kekla Magoon's tender and sweet story of four days in the life of fifteen-year-old Ellis, is told in 37 brief chapters. Ellis enumerates the 37 things she loves as she comes to terms with saying a final goodbye to her father, who has been in a coma for several years. During this stressful time, Ellis also deals with best friend drama, reconnects with an old friend, and explores her sexual attraction to another girl.

Magoon's previous books have featured African American protagonists, and the dust jacket of this one shows two brown-skinned girls floating in a swimming pool, so I assumed that Ellis and her friends are African American. It wasn't until I finished the book that I realized that the ethnicity of any of the characters is open to interpretation. (If I'm wrong, please correct me in the comments. I've been distracted and overtired lately, so I'm not reading with my usual attention to details. I may have missed physical descriptions of hair or skin that confirmed my initial assumption.)

My heart went out to Ellis and her emotional turmoil during a challenging episode in her life. Her complicated relationship with her mother is also done well. The overall tone is optimistic and fresh, balancing the serious underlying issues. Not everything is tied up neatly at the end of the novel, which feels exactly right.
Grade 7 - up.

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