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In this debut novel for younger readers, author Elana Arnold explores themes of loss, friendship, and new purpose in an authentic setting. Iris Abernathy is 11 years old and dealing with the traumatic death of her best friend, Sarah. Not only that, but she and her family have just moved. Iris feels like her life is as wet and soggy as the unfamiliar Oregon landscape.  

Finding herself in a new school, Iris is befriended by Boris. In trying to help Iris make sense of Sarah’s death, Boris is eager to share his own medical mystery birth. The confusion Iris feels about Sarah’s death is only amplified by Boris’s story. How can Sarah’s life have ended by an accident and Boris’s life be defined as a miracle?

Iris searches out different ways to answer this big question. With the help of the adults in her life, Iris tries to make sense of believing and hoping and resting in the miracles of life around her. This well-written book, told from a secular point of view, opens up conversations to the big questions of miracles and the mysteries of life. Ages 10 and up. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

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