By Renee Watson
Serenity and her brother, Danny, are in shock after the death of their mother and are only beginning to grieve as they move in with their maternal grandparents. This means changing schools, making new friends and adjusting to living with their grandparents, who run a church. But every time things seem to be smoothing out, another bump hits or tragedy strikes, knocking Serenity back a few steps. She must rely on her wavering faith, her new friends, family and the knowledge her mother left her to pull through the darkness.
I loved the writing in this novel – it was both direct and poignant and conveyed the tragedies and triumphs of Serenity and her brother clearly. I also was impressed with how this novel dealt with grief. I thought Watson portrayed the ebb and flow of grieving and moving on incredibly well. In addition, she did an excellent job at portraying the uncertainty in Serenity’s life, while expressing the fear and desire of turning out like one’s parents – for better or worse.
As everything above implies, this book deals with some heavy material, although I would still say it falls around the 8th or 9th grade age range, which is a bit younger than I normally read. (The cover, sadly, makes it look like it is for a 4th grader.) The sad nature of the book did get a bit overwhelming at moments, but it never felt unnecessary or unwarranted.
Overall, an excellent read that I would not have normally picked up.
Read for Nerds Heart YA 2nd Round Judging