The Girl with More than One Heart by Laura Geringer Bass, (2018, Amulet Books, 233 pages, for ages 8 to 12)
Synopsis (from the book jacket): When Briana’s father dies, she imagines she has a new heart growing inside her. It speaks to her in her Dad’s voice. Some of its commands are mysterious.
Find Her! it says. Be Your Own!
How can Briana “be her own” when her grieving mother needs her to take care of her demanding little brother all the time? When all her grandpa can do is tell stories instead of being the “rock" she needs? When her not-so-normal home life leaves no time to pursue her dream of writing for the school literary magazine? When the first blush of a new romance threatens to be nipped in the bud? Forced by the loss of her favorite parent to see all that was once familiar with new eyes, Briana draws on her own imagination, originality, and tender loving heart to discover a surprising path through the storm.
Why I recommend it: The writing is superb. It gives this book a luminous and lovely quality, one you can't tear yourself away from. Briana is so compelling a character, you feel every bit of her grief, working through all the stages with her. She could easily be a real 13-year-old. Perhaps one you know.
The northern Manhattan neighborhood of Inwood becomes a vibrant character in this book. Although I lived in Manhattan for two years, I never went to Inwood. But the author brings it fully to life here, making me wish I'd seen it for myself.
Favorite lines (oh, there are so many! I'll try to limit myself)
p. 23 When he was tired or upset he always drooped like that, as if his skull were heavier on that side. It made him look like a dandelion someone had stepped on but not quite crushed.
p.44 Mom shows me how to paint and glue paper wings on the clothespins. We work with our heads close together. Mom's curly hair brushes my cheek. Clamped down tight with little handmade guardian angels, our clothes dance on the line, casting long shadows.
p, 66 I settled in next to him, fitting comfortably into the shape his shadow made as he leaned against the wall. It was good to have a friend big enough to make shade.
Visit Laura Geringer Bass's author page.