Starr Creek Press
Published August 4, 2020
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Full of humor and wonder, BELIEVE explores the power and limits of the imagination – and how love both breaks and heals our hearts.
Eleven-year-old Melanie knows she’s special. She’s never been bored. She understands the secret language of old houses and makes jewels out of broken glass. Her imagination can do anything — except make friends. It’s 1980, and life as a fifth grader at Buckminster Experimental School is lonely at best, when she’s not dodging Karen, the school bully. Then, Melanie meets Sabrina, who looks like a TV star and acts like a spy, and who doesn’t care what anyone thinks. She teaches Melanie how to believe in herself, and soon Melanie starts living her dreams. She even lands the lead in Peter Pan!
If only she could share it all with Mom. Missing her mom is like trying to breathe with one lung. It’s bad. Sabrina thinks they can track her down, and Melanie wants to believe, but sometimes it’s easier to pretend. Her new life feels like a house of cards, until one day it all comes crashing down and she finds herself with no choice but to face the truth… and let go.
This quirky, heartfelt middle-grade novel about grief and the resilience of the human spirit will keep you guessing until the end.
Melanie is an incredibly loveable character. I felt immediately invested in her story. Her imagination is wild and lovely. The way she explains relationships and intentions is really clever and moving, too.
Melanie’s imagination lands her the lead role in the school’s performance of PETER PAN. It helps her deal with the bullying of a fellow classmate and find the courage to make a new friend.
She describes and observes a lot of relationships in BELIEVE, too. From watching her dad interact with his friends, to navigating her own complicated relationship with her grandmother, she relates those exchanges with flair.
Fans of THE OTHER BETTER ME by Antony Jon or NOT IF I CAN HELP IT by Carolyn Mackler will definitely want this book in their libraries.
Recommended for Ages 10 up.
Most characters are white.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
A girl in Melanie’s class bullies her– saying unkind things and making fun of her.
Adults drink alcohol in one scene.
Note: I received a free copy of BELIEVE in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support the costs of running this blog.